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Recycling and its importance:

Recycling is the process of separating, collecting, and remanufacturing or converting used or waste products into new materials. Recycling is the process of breaking down and reusing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash.

 

Many communities and businesses make it easy to recycle by placing labeled containers in the open for public use or providing bins for home and business owners who have curbside pickup.

How to Handle
your recycling

Step 1: Separate your recycling
from compostable items.

All Recycling Stations, Recycling Stores and Recycling Spots in Hong Kong accept at least eight common types of recyclables, including paper, metals plastics, glass bottles, regulated electrical equipment, small electrical appliances, fluorescent lamps and tubes, and rechargeable batteries, etc.

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Step 2: Rinse out or clean items.

Do a quick clean to make sure there is no food left in containers before you take it to recycle. Any leftover food will contaminate the recycling process.

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Step 3: Don't bag it.

Store your recycling items in a reusable bag that you can easily carry to recycling spots and reuse each time you recycle.

Step 4: Know your trash.

Some items are made of complex materials. Educate yourself on how to handle such items so you can discard of responsibly.

Some of the benefits of

recycling includes:

  • Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators

  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals

  • Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials

  • Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials

  • Saves energy

  • Supports American manufacturing and conserves valuable resources

  • Helps create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States

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Composting:

Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants.

In Hong Kong, we may not be able to compost in a large backyard but there are other ways to compost in small spaces, or community gardens. 

 

Approximately 40% of landfill material is organics. Landfill space is limited, and creating more landfills is undesirable. By eliminating this bulk, more space is created and the landfill's lifespan will be greater.  

Where that recycling will end up in Hong Kong.

When China instituted Operation Green Fence in 2013, and particularly when they followed it with the China National Sword policy in 2018, the challenges of recycling became evident around the world. Half of the world’s plastic recycling had been sent to China, and Hong Kong also relied primarily on China to handle its recycling of not only plastic and other recyclable materials.

Historically in Hong Kong, the bulk of the ‘recycling’ done by companies didn’t have much to do with the collection of recyclables in HK. They imported recyclable material from other countries and then exported it, with little or no processing taking place here in HK.

 

The recyclable material collected in Hong Kong was mainly baled and then exported for handling elsewhere, mostly in China.

Since changes in 2018 which saw China ban the importation of many recyclable materials, local plastic ‘recycling’ has evolved somewhat to include a small amount of local processing into secondary raw materials such as plastic flakes or pellets, but still very little of the waste collected in Hong Kong is processed in this way.

 

Most continues to be exported to other countries as it is generally deemed to be not sorted well enough, not clean enough or not in enough quantity to be feasibly recycled locally.