Tap Hong Kong’s public markets as recycling points under new Environment and Ecology Bureau 綠在食環街市 – 由香港仔街市做起

  Kowloon City Market recycling occupies the public pavement. The market needs a recycling store and adequate facilities for recycling related to the market operations, and the local neighbourhood.
Tap Hong Kong’s public markets as recycling points under new Environment and Ecology Bureau

Chinese version: See below
Click here: Analyses including market vacancy report and Aberdeen Market plans
Click here: Chinese story InMedia (https://bit.ly/3AaUrW0)
Click here: English letter South China Morning Post (https://bit.ly/3KmKEB8)

Public markets are convenient locations for residents to drop off recyclables and renting space there is more cost-effective. Adding markets to Hong Kong’s recycling network is one of the ways FEHD and EPD can operate better under the proposed bureau.

The chief executive has proposed a merger of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). The future Environment and Ecology Bureau will combine FEHD’s waste and cleansing operations and EPD’s recycling operations under one authority. We fully support this plan.

We would like to highlight an example of the opportunities this merger brings. The FEHD operates 97 public markets located throughout all 18 districts. A HK$2 billion Market Modernisation Programme is under way, starting with an overhaul of Aberdeen market.

The benefits of using public markets as recycling points in the community recycling network include convenience, cost effectiveness, infrastructure and space availability.Firstly, public markets are convenient locations for residents to drop off recyclables as they are part of their daily shopping routine.

Secondly, EPD has opened 11 recycling stations and 22 recycling stores. The average monthly expense is HK$419,831 per store. A large portion is spent on rent. GREEN@Tin Hau pays HK$130,000 per month for 1,000 sq ft, or HK$130 per sq ft. In contrast, rent at public markets varies between HK$0.50 and HK$32 per sq ft. The rent at the Causeway Bay Market, just down the street from Tin Hau, is only around HK$4.50 per sq ft

Thirdly, EPD’s recycling stores have come under criticism for occupying public space. Residents place recyclables at the door when the store is closed, and the store places bagged material outside awaiting transport. These commercial shops lack the facilities commonly available at public markets: a loading bay, storage capacity and a parking area.

Finally, 80 out of the 97 markets have vacant space. The average occupancy rate of public markets is 88 per cent and, for some, occupancy is as low as 40 per cent. In all, 79 markets have at least 600 sq ft unused, which is EPD’s recommended size for a GREEN store in its tender specification.

In the 2019 policy address, the government announced a “single site, multiple use” model for greater efficiency in land use for public buildings. It would be good to see the same policy applied to FEHD’s public markets and EPD’s recycling stores.

When we approached FEHD, it responded that the provision of a recycling store is currently out of their scope of services for public markets. The merger of FEHD and EPD is a good opportunity for a rethink.

During the public consultation on a future producer responsibility scheme for plastic beverage containers, EPD asked retailers to take responsibility for collecting recyclable packaging. The government can set an example by including a recycling store in each public market. This would expand the community recycling network fourfold at a fraction of the cost, and offer convenience to nearby residents.

Aberdeen market is good place to start.

Paul Zimmerman, chairman, Drink Without Waste

(Based on letter published in the South China Morning Post, 19 January, 2022)

綠在食環街市 – 由香港仔街市做起



現時食環署經營 97 個公眾街市,分佈在全港 18 區。20 億的「街市現代化計劃」(現代化計劃)現正推行中,首個項目正是香港仔街市大翻新。基於成本、便捷度、基礎設施和空置率等因素,我們建議將有「先天優勢」的公眾街市納入社區回收網絡。首先,公眾街市是市民放下回收物的方便地點,因為街市是市民日常購物的地點。

其次,環保署已在 18 區開設了 11 個回收環保站和 22 個回收便利點,每間回收便利點的每月平均營運成本為 $419,831 港元,而大部分支出來至租金。相比之下,街市每平方尺租 $0.5 至 $31 不等,「綠在天后」月租 $130,000,尺價 $130,距離銅鑼灣街市只有 273 米,該街市尺價約 $4.5。


最後,在 97 公眾街市中,有80個是有閒置攤檔的。公眾街市的平均佔用率為 88%,有些街市,佔用率低至 40%(附件2)。79 個街市至少有 600 平方尺的閒置攤檔,這也是回收便利點招標書建議的鋪位尺寸。

在 2019 年的施政報告中,政府宣布以「一地多用」模式發展多用途公共設施大樓,以提高土地使用效率。如果能看到同樣的政策適用於食環署的公眾街市和環保署的回收便利點,雙劍合璧為環保和市民締造雙贏方案,那就更理想。就此建議,我們曾跟食環署聯絡,署方卻回應,目前提供回收便利點不屬於公共市場的服務範圍。我們期望將來的合併能讓當局重新考慮「綠在食環街市」。

在塑膠飲料容器生產者責任計劃的公眾參與過程中,環保署明確表示,零售商必須承擔收回可回收材料的責任。政府應該樹立榜樣,在 97 個公眾街市中設立回收便利點,並由香港仔街市做起。這將使社區回收網絡擴大四倍,成本卻相對低,並且能為附近的居民提供方便。司馬文