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Waste Less: Think Before You Trash!

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With the MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) Charging Scheme binned, we need to take matters into our own hands and get serious about waste reduction and recycling

Hong Kong’s ban on single-use plastics began on April 22 this year (Earth Day). All expanded polystyrene tableware, as well as disposable plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates are now banned, alongside numerous other items, including umbrella bags, cotton buds, glow sticks and all oxo-degradable plastic products. However, the government’s controversial, twice-delayed MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) Charging Scheme, scheduled for roll-out next month, has been shelved.

Under the MSW Charging Scheme, household waste would have been subject to charging: in line with the polluter-pays principle, charges would have been based on the quantity of waste generated by each household. The idea was that as people became more aware that waste disposal comes with a cost, they would work harder to reduce and recycle.

Each day, the equivalent of 1.53 kilogrammes of waste per person is released into Hong Kong landfills – the scale of the problem becomes evident when you multiply that by 365 (days in a year) and then by 7 million (Hongkongers). We all need to “dump less” whether or not we are incentivised to do so by the government, and the easiest way to reduce solid waste is to recycle.

Now more than ever, we need to take steps to reduce the amount of waste we create and follow through by sorting and recycling the waste we do create correctly. The good news is that here in DB we are in a good position to do just that.


Discovery Bay Services Management Ltd (DBSML) introduced its first Food Waste Collection Programme over a decade ago, in 2012, to enable residents to “recycle” their domestic food waste. Under this programme, food waste collected by residents is transformed into fertiliser, which the DB landscaping team uses for composting. In 2022, DBSML stepped up its commitment to foodwaste handling, boosting the measures already in place by implementing the Environmental Protection Department’s (EPD) pilot scheme on food-waste collection.

Under the EPD pilot scheme, food waste is collected on a daily basis from DB and transported to O•PARK1 in Siu Ho Wan (Hong Kong’s first organic resources recovery centre) for recycling. Capable of handling 200 tonnes of food waste per day, O·PARK1 uses anaerobic digestion technology to convert food waste into biogas (a source of renewable energy similar to natural gas) for electricity generation. Residues from the process are converted into compost.

From the get-go, all residential units in DB were invited to participate in the EPD pilot scheme, and food-waste collection bins are now in place outside most villages. The Auberge, Discovery Bay Recreation Club, Fusion and some DB schools, including Discovery College, are now also participating. Reducing wasted food and using the food-waste collection scheme is an easy way to ease the pressure on Hong Kong’s landfills: the bins are purpose-built – leak-proof, impervious to moisture and fitted with secure lids – you simply drop your biodegradable food waste in, unbagged.


Refuse! Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! We all need to use less, re-use what we can and, most importantly perhaps, treat our waste like the waste industry sees it – as a resource. Drink cartons are being converted into paper pulp, glass into eco-bricks, plastic bottles into (new) plastic bottles or clothing… the type of waste that can be recycled is rapidly expanding. So, now’s the time for all of us to recommit to recycling, ensuring more of our waste stays out of landfill and gets a new lease of life.

Recycling in DB couldn’t be easier: there are communal separation bins at all villages, clearly labelled for glass, plastic (bottles), paper and metal, and we can also look to the governmentfunded Green@Community collection point, open on Tuesdays from 10am to 1pm and 2.30pm to 5.30pm, at the Green Icon@DB. It’s the place to dispose of hard-to-recycle items like plastic film and polyfoam, along with liquid cartons (Tetra Paks), disposable coffee cups and fibre food containers, rechargeable batteries, energy-saving light bulbs and waste electronics.

The Green@Community team also takes metal, glass and paper recyclables (though there’s no harm in continuing to deposit these items at the communal separation bins). With plastics it’s a little more complicated: we need to take any nonbottle-shaped plastics, particularly soft plastics (film) and polyfoam, to the Green@Community collection point for it to have the highest chance of getting recycled.

What’s key is that all recyclables are cleaned and properly sorted. In order to be recycled, all cartons need to be cut open and washed with the plastic spout and lid removed, and they should be dried, flattened and sorted by type (white-back and silver-back). Polyfoam items, including food containers, fruit nets and product packaging, also need to be clean and dry, with no food residue, tape, stickers or any other contaminants. Beverage bottles must be empty of liquid, though you can leave the cap and label on.


Disposing of recyclables at the Green@Community collection point is easy, effective and, of course, free of charge. But it’s not the only option. The EPD’s Smart Recycling Promotion Vehicle provides a similar service and is now a regular visitor to DB Plaza. The bus contains smart recycling bins for paper, plastic, metal and glass: and, as a plus, you can accumulate electronic bonus points, based on the weight of the rubbish you recycle, to redeem gifts.

Mill Mill’s Meow recycling truck also makes regular appearances in DB Plaza. As Hong Kong’s first paper-packed drink box recycling pulp mill, Mill Mill can process up to 50 tons of paper-packed drink boxes every day, plus waste paper of all types (books, magazines, newspapers). Stop by the bus to dispose of waste paper, and you can also drop off plastic bottles and bags, aluminium/ tin cans and containers, laptops and tablets.

In addition, smart recycling machines are cropping up all over DB, where you can drop off unwanted clothing, shoes, bags, toys and accessories. When using the machines, you can earn points to redeem gifts.


DBSML-led initiatives like these are boosted by eco-related activities supported by the DB landscape team at Community Green Square. There’s also the opportunity to become a Green DBer: the programme encourages residents to join together to embrace a “green” lifestyle.

Once enrolled as a Green DBer, you get access to a green lifestyle newsfeed and receive regular eco-related tips via EDM. You also get up-to-date information about upcoming events and activities, including the ongoing eco workshops, plant markets and family farm projects at Community Green Square. Green DBers have priority access to educational talks and workshops on everything from waste reduction and recycling to upcycling projects for kids.

As part of its environmental programme, DBSML also organises regular recycling days, a dedicated DB Earth Day and visits to O•PARK1, so residents can see how the food waste collected in DB is put to new use.

One thing’s for sure, there are numerous ways all of us, as individuals, can reduce the amount of municipal solid waste we send to landfill. Are you ready to get serious about waste reduction and recycling?

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