LCQ9: Reduction and treatment of food waste


Hong Kong (HKSAR) - Following is a question by the Hon Kwok Wai-keung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, in the Legislative Council today (May 8) :

Question:

The Government announced in this year's Policy Address the launch of the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign to mobilise the public as well as the industrial and commercial sectors to reduce food waste. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the amount of food waste in Hong Kong in the past five years; the respective amounts of such food waste originating from households (household food waste) and from commerce and industry (business food waste), as well their respective percentages in the total amount of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong;

(b) of the respective amounts of household food waste and business food waste recycled in Hong Kong and their percentages in the total amounts of such food waste, in the past five years;

(c) whether it has compiled statistics on the respective numbers of public housing estates (PHEs), Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) estates and private housing estates implementing food waste recycling schemes in each of the past five years; if so, of the details of such schemes, including the numbers of participating households and the percentage of such households in the total number of households in Hong Kong, the average amount of food waste collected from each household every year, as well as the outlets for the recycled food waste; whether the authorities have assessed the effectiveness of the schemes; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(d) whether the authorities have any plan to provide more food waste recycling facilities in PHEs, HOS estates and private housing estates, and to set up food waste collection points in the community to enhance the food waste recycling network, with a view to raising both the household participation rate and the amount of household food waste collected; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; whether the authorities have studied the feasibility of extending the Community Garden Programme to make use of the organic fertilisers converted from the food waste collected in the community; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(e) whether the authorities have considered following the example ofKorea to select some PHEs on a pilot basis for installing self-service food waste recycling machines to promote recycling of household food waste, and to collect data and accumulate experience for the waste charging scheme to be implemented in future, with a view to facilitating the formulation of relevant waste reduction policies;

(f) whether it knows the number of food waste recycling schemes launched for the industrial and commercial sectors by the Government or non-governmental organisations in the past five years; the details of such schemes, including the average amount of food waste recycled each year and the outlets for the recycled food waste; of the policies put in place by the authorities targeting at reducing business food waste, as well as the anticipated results of such policies; and

(g) of the implementation timetable of Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign; and the objective and anticipated results of the relevant activities?

Reply:

President,

Our reply to the questions raised by Hon Kwok is as follows:

(a) In the past five years, the average amount of food waste disposed of at landfills each day in Hong Kong is set out in Annex 1 (tonnes per day).

(b) Over the years, the majority of our food waste from the domestic and commercial/industrial sectors has been mixed with other rubbish for collection and disposal at landfills.

A small number of commercial and industrial institutions and households have also made use of small food waste treatment machines (with a daily capacity of 5 to 200 kg) to recycle a small amount of food waste. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) commissioned a pilot food waste composting plant in Kowloon Bay in August 2008 and collaborated with the commercial and industrial sectors to carry out food waste recycling and treatment to produce useful compost. Through the participation of the commercial and industrial sectors, we have gained experience for drawing up good food waste management guides.

The amount and percentage of food waste from the commercial and industrial sectors recycled by this facility are set out in Annex 2.

(c) and (e) The Government launched the Food Waste Recycling Scheme in Housing Estates (the Scheme) in July 2011 through the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) to subsidise Home Ownership Scheme and private housing estates to organise education programmes on food waste reduction and to install treatment facilities for food waste recycling. Eleven estates were given funding support in the first phase in November 2011. In view of the generally positive results of the first phase and in response to the public's expectation to fast-track food waste recycling in Hong Kong, the second phase of the Scheme was launched in October 2012.

It is estimated that about 45 additional estates will be covered in the second phase and three estates have received subsidies so far.As at to date, a total of 14 estates have been subsidised under the Scheme. Education programmes on food waste reduction and recovery organised by these estates cover about 45,000 households, of which about 1,600 would participate in source separation and recycling of food waste. Upon full implementation of recycling of food waste in these 14 estates, we estimate that about 500 tonnes of food waste will be recycled and 100 tonnes of compost will be produced per year for landscaping in the estates concerned.

We are now gathering data and experience on the participating estates so as to assess the effectiveness of the scheme. This will help us identify the relevant factors for consideration in broadening the implementation of food waste recycling in Hong Kong.

Regarding public housing estates, the Housing Authority has conducted food waste recycling trial schemes at seven public housing estates by phases since late 2011. About 1,000 families have taken part in the trial.

The food waste collected is transformed to fish feed or compost for planting in the estates. The Housing Authority will review the effectiveness of the trial schemes before deciding the way forward.

(d) It would not be easy to separate and collect household food waste at source as the relatively limited living space in most of our households makes it difficult to install dedicated food waste collection facilities.Besides, under our relatively hot weather food waste readily gives rise to odour and hygiene issues. We are now gathering data and experience on the Scheme and relevant public housing estates (please see reply to (c) above for details) so as to analyse the factors, the relevant supporting facilities and the effectiveness for considering a broader implementation of food waste recycling in Hong Kong.



The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) launched the Community Garden Programme in 2004 with the aim to encourage the public to participate in greening and planting activities. At present, there are 21 community gardens in the 18 districts. The LCSD will continue to identify suitable sites and create more community gardens so as to meet public demand.

The EPD also provides the LCSD with food waste-turned-compost produced in the pilot food waste composting plant in Kowloon Bay. 550 kg of compost have been provided for use in community gardens so far.Feedback from participants has been positive. The EPD will continue to liaise with the LCSD and promote the use of food waste-turned-compost in community gardens.



(f) The Government adopts a multi-pronged approach to tackle the household and business food waste problems in Hong Kong. The strategy focuses primarily on food waste avoidance and reduction. As for unavoidable food waste, we try to recycle it wherever possible.

In recent years, apart from territory-wide education and publicity on food waste, the EPD has also promoted and launched food waste reduction and recycling programmes related to the commercial and industrial sectors in different districts. They are summarised as follows:

(1) To take forward the "reduction first " approach and strengthen the promotion of food waste reduction, the Government set up the Food Wise Hong Kong Steering Committee in December last year to implement the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign. The campaign aims to promote public awareness, instill behavioural change in various sectors of the community, including commercial and industrial establishments related to catering, and at the individual and household levels.

The Committee will draw up good practice guides of food waste reduction at such establishments, encourage the commercial and industrial and various sectors of the community to act accordingly and share their practical experience, and facilitate food donation to charitable organisations by establishments with surplus food;

(2) To support the Save Food Day through education and publicity to facilitate food waste avoidance and reduction by the public and relevant businesses;

(3) The EPD, in collaboration with the commercial and industrial sectors, launch the Food Waste Recycling Partnership Scheme in June 2010 to assist with the training of managerial and front line staff of participating organisations to grasp good food waste management practices. Participating organisations will carry out food waste separation at source and the EPD will deliver the food waste collected to the pilot composting plant in Kowloon Bay for recycling. As at early 2013, over 90 organisations, including hotels, food premises, markets, food factories and shopping malls, etc.

in different districts joined the scheme. About 1,100 tonnes of food waste were recycled, and about 210 tonnes of compost produced and provided to the LCSD, schools and farms for planting. In general, feedback from users on the effectiveness of the compost is positive;

(4) The EPD, in collaboration with Kwun Tong District Council and the property management company of the apm shopping mall, launched the Food Waste Reduction Programme in Kwun Tong at apm in July 2011.

Food premises at the mall were invited to encourage customers to minimise waste of food and carry out food waste separation and collection at source. On-site food waste treatment facility has also been installed at apm. As at late 2012, about 60 tonnes of food waste were recycled, and about 10 tonnes of compost produced for landscaping in Kwun Tong District;

(5) The EPD, in collaboration with Tsuen Wan District Council and the property management company of the Discovery Park (DP), implements the Food Waste Reduction Programme in Tsuen Wan at the DP from December 2012 to May 2013.

The campaign aims to motivate and encourage the public and the business sector to avoid or reduce food waste at source;

(6) In March 2012, the Islands Food Waste Recycling Scheme was launched on Cheung Chau and at Yung Shue Wan on Lamma Island. It aims to educate and motivate restaurants, food premises and hostels for the elderly on islands to recycle food waste and encourages waste reduction at source. Under the Scheme, food premises, hostels and shops in Cheung Chau town centre and along Yung Shue Wan Main Street are invited to collect food waste for delivery to the food waste treatment facilities on the islands where it would be recycled to organic compost.By early 2013, about 97 tonnes of food waste were recycled, and about 11 tonnes of compost produced for donation to the community for greening under the Islands Scheme.

This has enabled the recycling of resources locally; and

(7) The EPD plans to develop in phases major modern organic waste treatment facilities where source-separated business food waste is recycled to useful biogas and compost for local use. Phase 1, with a daily capacity of 200 tonnes of food waste, will be constructed in Siu Ho Wan of Lautau. It is scheduled for completion in 2016.Phase 2, with a daily capacity of 300 tonnes of food waste, will be located in Shaling at North District.

It will be completed in 2017.

(g) To take forward the Chief Executive's pledge to promote food waste reduction, the Government announced on December 3, 2012 the setting up of the Food Wise Hong Kong Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is tasked with formulating and overseeing the implementation strategies of the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign, which aims to promote public awareness of food waste problems in Hong Kong and co-ordinate efforts within the Government and public institutions to lead by example in food waste reduction. The objectives of the Steering Committee also include instilling behavioural change at the individual and household levels to help reduce food waste generation, drawing up and promoting good practices of food waste reduction at commercial and industrial establishments, and facilitating food donation to charitable organisations from establishments with surplus food.The Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign will be launched in May this year.There will be a host of activities, which include public education programmes via media such as television and the radio, the publication of good practices, roving exhibitions and community activities, the setting up of a dedicated website, and workshops on food waste reduction for different sectors.We will review the effectiveness of the campaign in terms of food waste reduction after the launch of the activities.




Published on: 2013-05-08

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