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All You Need To Know About Hong Kong’s Plastic Ban And Waste Charging Scheme

Waste Reduction Scheme Hong Kong
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The ban on single-use plastic and the waste charging scheme will be implemented this year. Here’s what it means for you and your family…

Let’s address the undeniable truth, Mamas, our actions as humans have dire consequences for our planet. And if we have any chance of preserving the Earth for our children, it’s important to seek sustainable alternatives and minimise our waste footprint. Luckily for us, Hong Kong is stepping up its game in going green! The city is taking a leap towards sustainability with the ban on single-use plastics and a new waste-charging scheme.

With so much new information floating around, it can be hard to keep up. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Hong Kong’s efforts to become more eco-friendly.

Read More: How To Teach Your Kids About Sustainability

Single Use Plastic Ban Hong Kong

The Ban On Single-Use Plastic

In an effort to reduce use of plastic, Hong Kong is taking a stance against single-use plastic products by implementing a ban on items like disposable plastic straws, stirrers, and cutlery starting Monday, 22 April 2024. This means that when you order dine-in or takeaway food at restaurants, you’ll no longer get single-use cutlery, cup lids or food containers. The ban also extends to non-plastic alternatives such as cotton buds, umbrella covers, glow sticks, plastic toothpicks, party hats and more. However, certain items like pre-packed food with attached utensils (for example, ice cream cups with spoons in them) and packaged beverages with plastic straws (juice boxes, VLTs) are exempted.

Hotels and guest houses will no longer offer free toiletries in synthetic disposable containers or provide in-room water in plastic bottles. There are some specific situations where exceptions are allowed, for instance in hospital wards and correctional facilities, scientific purposes, medical and public health requirements and emergencies.

Find out more about the ban on single-use plastic here.

Read More: Environmentally Friendly, Zero Waste And Plastic-Free Stores In Hong Kong

MSW Waste Charging Scheme Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Waste Charging Scheme

From Thursday, 1 August 2024, Hong Kong will implement Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) charging to reduce landfill waste. This means that residents and businesses will be required to use prepaid government-approved garbage bags to dispose of domestic, commercial and industrial waste. If you need to dispose of large or oddly sized items that don’t fit into these garbage bags (for example, large furniture, mattresses, bookshelves etc), you’ll have to purchase special labels. The aim is to reduce all the waste that goes into our landfills by encouraging people to recycle and reduce it.

You can purchase the designated bags at various authorised locations, including supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies and online platforms. Click here for a full list of purchase points and prices.

Recycling is encouraged, and you can dispose of recyclable materials separately in recycling bins without the need for the approved bags. You can also separate food waste and dispose of it at designated collection points. To make things easier, Hong Kong has established over 170 collection points across the city, including recycling stores and kerbside collection booths. Plus, smart recycling bins will be installed at public and private housing estates.

If you throw away garbage without using the right bags or labels, you can be fined $1,500. The law applies not only to the person who disposes of the waste but also to anyone who causes or allows someone else to do it. For example, if you ask or allow your domestic helper to dispose of waste improperly, both you and your helper could face issues.

Want to save money on waste charging? The best way to do this is to reduce the amount of waste you produce in the first place. You can use the Waste Reduction Calculator to estimate how much you’ll spend on waste charges each month. Plus, you can save money by reusing items or recycling them at recycling networks such as GREEN@COMMUNITY. You can even download the Carbon Wallet mobile app to track your carbon reduction journey and earn points to redeem a variety of rewards from free MTR rides, local eco-tours and eco-friendly household goods to sustainable fashion and plant-based food and drinks.

For more information on the waste charging scheme, head over to

Although the ban on single-use plastic and the waste charging scheme might bring some initial inconvenience as we adapt to the changes, it’s a good first step towards sustainability and the environment. These measures are aimed at reducing our reliance on disposable plastics and encouraging responsible waste management. So, while it may take a bit of getting used to, let’s embrace these changes and remember that we’re contributing to a cleaner and healthier future for our city and planet!

Read More: How To Recycle In Hong Kong: Hassle-Free Tips For Reducing Waste

Main image courtesy of Getty, image 1 courtesy of Big Waster, image 2 courtesy of Getty, image 3 courtesy of Environment & Ecology Bureau.

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