Meeting with EPD at YSW Waste Transfer Station 5 May 2010

Living Lamma collated questions from the community and raised the following questions with representatives of the Environmental Protection Department. The goal of the meeting was to help residents understand how to dispose of different types of waste on Lamma.

Waste Management on Lamma

Mr. Michael Lui (Senior Environmental Protection Officer – Waste Facilities)

Mr. Louis Chan (Environmental Protection Officer – Waste Reduction & EcoPark)

Ms.Winnie Cheung (Assistant Waste Reduction Officer – Waste Reduction & EcoPark)

Terence Ho (Waste Facilities Projects Engineer) Tel : 2872 1642

1. I have heard that batteries should not be put in with general waste as they can leak dangerous chemicals. I have old batteries at home. What should I do with them?

2. I have an old mattress that is so heavy that I can’t move it myself. How can I get rid of it?

3. My neighbour has kept an old washing machine outside her flat for many years now. It is very rusty and doesn’t look nice. How can I help her get rid of it?

4. I want to get my septic tank cleaned out, but I’ve been told that the waste will just be thrown onto the hillside somewhere. How should this waste be handled and how can I make sure that my waste is disposed of correctly?

5. I am very curious about the recycling on Lamma. In other places, recycling waste is colour coded, but on Lamma all waste goes into the same black plastic bags. How is the recycling kept separately from the ordinary waste? What happens to our recycling once it leaves Lamma?

6. I’ve heard that the landfill sites in Hong Kong will be full soon. What will happen then?

7. Why is there no glass recycling in Hong Kong?

8. I already recycle paper, cans and plastics and compost food waste. I use washable nappies and try to ensure that very little waste is put into the bin, but I struggle to know what to do with some items. Does the government have a hotline to advise people what to do?

9. I’ve noticed village vehicles piled high with green waste. Does this go to the transfer station? Does it end up in landfill? This waste could all be composted. Could we start a scheme to do this on Lamma?

10. I’m going to have some renovation work done on my flat and want the contractor to take the waste to the transfer station. How can I ensure that he will do this? A friend of mine recently paid a contractor to take an air conditioner to the transfer station, only to find bits of it dumped by the side of the path.

11. In Australia, the government tips have really changed over the years, so that much of the waste is sorted and recycled. There are even tip shops, where you can pick up all sorts of items from door handles to bits of furniture. Are there any tip shops at waste facilities in Hong Kong?

12. I’ve read about several programmes recently where waste is turned into art. For example, old chicken wire is turned into sculptures, jewellery is made out of various items of household waste and old bath tubs are made into gardens. Is there anywhere in Hong Kong that is doing this?

From Visit Notes for the Joint Department Visit 24th February 2010

1. Food waste Is there any programme to promote household composting like the Bokashi system in Japan? Can we start this? Which department(s) would be involved?
2. Garden waste We notice that felled trees are often removed by ‘vv’. Are these taken to the transfer station? What happens to them? Has Lamma got any system for shredding and composting this waste? Can we start one?
3. Unwanted electrical items Is there a collection centre for this at the transfer station? What happens to these items once they are taken off Lamma?
4. Construction waste There are a number of places on Lamma where this is dumped now. The waste is often reused in the construction of new houses. Is there a designated area for this waste? Can there be better management of it to deter dumping?
5. Old furniture Is there a recycling area at the transfer station? Is there a way to sort out reusable items from rubbish? What happens to this waste?
6. Old clothes and shoes We notice there is one recycling bin on Lamma. What happens to this waste? Could there be more bins, perhaps as part of a redesign of the refuse collection points?
7. Recyclable material: plastic, metal, paper What happens to this when it leaves Lamma? We notice that there is no colour coding of bags and many of our members are concerned that the recycling is just put together with the ordinary trash.
8. Batteries What is the best way to dispose of these? Is there any battery recycling available?
9. Prohibited items Are there any items that should not be put in the bins? What are these and how should people dispose of them?
10. Heavy/bulky items Some items are too heavy or bulky for individuals to move by themselves. Is there any system in place to help people, particularly the elderly or disabled, get rid of unwanted items?