Musing: Organic Waste Recycling Program’s Feasibility in Hong Kong

Using Vancouver’s “GreenCart” program as a yardstick of comparison, I muse on the feasibility of an organic waste recycling program in Hong Kong.

Currently in Vancouver, there is a “GreenCart” pilot program. The “GreenCart” pilot program involves neighbourhoods in the Metro Vancouver area. Families within these neighbourhoods are required to sort their food scraps and yard trimmings into the said “GreenCarts”, reducing the amount of local organic scraps from ending up in the landfills or garbage incinerators by 50-70%, according to the official City of Richmond BC copy.

Having originally came from Hong Kong, where take-out boxes and polystyrene containers reign king from the eating establishments to the Victoria Harbour, I have contemplated on whether the “GreenCart” program would work to the same extent. Sure, Hong Kong has its own fair share of PSAs advocating for recycling and proper garbage disposal (and a steep $1500 HKD2 fine for littering to boot). Hong Kong has its solutions to recycling, setting groups of three colour-coded recycling bins around town, but not for food and yard organic scraps. Brown for clear plastic bottles, yellow for aluminium cans, and blue for waste paper.

The problem isn’t just that there isn’t a food waste bin. It’s just that Hong Kong is a culture for eating out. It’s just way too easy to get a quick nibble at your local 7-11. Just search up “Hong Kong 7-11 map” and you will see what I mean. With food scraps come take out containers, some paper, and some still made of polystyrene. However, it would be counter productive just to stop the ever-busy, ever-rushing city-never-sleeps mentality. And given the huge population density in Hong Kong in addition to the highly consumerist culture (I’ve lived in Hong Kong for 15+ years you know), any widespread environmental movement would be…a song-and-dance movement per se.

Suppose we take the mentality of the people out of the question. Hong Kong is a humid place, and organic waste would be difficult to keep dry. Rankness would only attract unwanted bugs – mosquitoes and cockroaches being the notable culprits. Given the subtropical climate, more money would have to be invested in means of keeping the organic waste dry enough to be sorted into the Hong Kong version of the GreenCart.

It is definitely more difficult to take into account of GreenCart’s effectiveness in Hong Kong given the climate, the higher population density, and the ingrained fast-paced, consumerist, and eating-out mentality of the people. I admit, going back to Hong Kong means kicking one’s mind in high gear just to keep one moving in competition with the crowds.

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1http://www.richmond.ca/services/recycling/food-yard/greencart.htm
2($197 CAD, $27 more than a Translink fine for failing to provide proof of a Translink ticket)


“Musing: Organic Waste Recycling Program’s Feasibility in Hong Kong” was published on June 10, 2013, which is part of my past internship work. Read more about Vincent Wong’s work at https://vincentwongwanders.wordpress.com.

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