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Hong Kong waves hello to glass recycling

Fiona Donnelly, TPB’s Business Development Lead waves hello to Hong Kong’s much anticipated delivery of recycling bins for Hong Kong’s glass.

The patchwork of Hong Kong’s glass management contractors who will maintain glass bottle bins and collect the glass deposited there is now complete.

In May 2018, the Government announced the contractor to serve the one outstanding area, and now we know:
If you want more bins or to understand more about glass container recycling on Hong Kong, the other islands and New Territories, Baguio can help.
Enquiries for Kowloon should be directed to Hong Kong Glass Reborn.

So, it’s very good news – give the two companies a few months to get things fully up and running, then regardless of where you are in Hong Kong, a glass bottle recycling bin shouldn’t be too far away.

And not only that, a prerequisite of these bins/collection service is that the glass collected is taken to local outlets for reuse, recycling or treatment, or overseas outlets where there is proof that processing will not cause adverse environmental impacts.

No more excuses Hong Kong.

We have the long-awaited fourth bin and comfort that we have processes in place to ensure the sustainable reuse of glass containers.

The direct knock-on impact will include the diversion of an increasing percentage of the current 400,000 regular wine bottles per day going to Hong Kong’s landfill and the avoidance of more and more virgin river sand being needlessly consumed.

What does this mean for individuals, offices and enterprises?

Individuals, offices and enterprises all have a role to play in growing and using the network of glass bottle recycling bins. Baguio and Hong Kong Glass Reborn are under pressure to achieve ‘Performance Requirements’. This includes:

  • collecting a target number of tonnes of glass containers each year
  • signing up a target percentage of premises that have a certain liquor licence to routinely collect glass bottles, and
  • to facilitate and respond to enquiries for more glass bottle recycle bins.
    It’s likely that glass bottle hot spots – being places where there is a concentration of used glass bottles – will likely be a top priority for the contractors.

To request more bins, engage with the glass management contractors, learn more about glass bottle recycling and more, contact the relevant contractor:

For Hong Kong, the other islands and New Territories:
Baguio – hotline: 8100 2541

For Kowloon:
Hong Kong Glass Reborn – hotline: 2116 8648

But remember – successful recycling starts with good waste separation behaviour so: rinse the container, remove the caps, and put only glass containers in the glass bins please.

 

What does this mean for businesses involved in the glass container ecosystem?

Businesses involved in the glass container ecosystem, such as those involved in importing wine/beer/water and those filling products into glass containers in Hong Kong, need to gear up for the launch of the ‘container recycling levy’.

It is the Government’s intention that the glass management contracts will be financially sustainable and net-zero so that the levy remitted by the likes of the importers and fillers mentioned above, will be equal to the cost of the services provided by Baguio and Hong Kong Glass Reborn.

At the time of posting, the Government is calculating what that levy will be. Rumours still hint to a figure of around HKD1 per 1 litre of glass bottle imported/filled ie HKD8 on a typical case of wine.  But we won’t know for sure until the Government passes to the Legislative Council the supporting subsidiary legislation including the proposed levy, possibly in Q3/4 2018.

What should those in the ecosystem do now?

  • Work out if your organisation is required to collect the levy and remit it to Government. This is likely to be on a quarterly basis. Exemptions are available, for example, for those enterprises that operate a glass container waste reduction plan.
  • If your organisation is required to collect the levy, use the time between now and the commencement of collection of the levy (likely in Q1/2 2019) to prepare. This could include:
    1. Review your organisation’s record keeping and make changes so that you can periodically report all the figures that will be required.
    2. Train your people to use these new systems.
    3. Find/consult with your existing auditor to ensure that they can vouch for the factual accuracy of the periodic returns
    4. Consider your pricing strategy – given the additional costs associated with the above steps, the actual cost to the importer/filler of administering the levy will be much more than HKD1 per litre, so consider how you want to handle that new overhead and potential decrease in margin.

While some of the broad logic and concepts of the levy are already defined in the Producer Responsibility Scheme on Glass Beverage Containers plans and related ordinance, some of the finer points will become clearer over the next few months.

For now, we know glass bottle recycling is going to become a lot easier and worthwhile so let’s all gear up to embrace this positive change.

 

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

If you are interested in improving waste issues in your business contact TPB to find our how we can how your company can thrive.

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