Published: 13:04, January 24, 2024 | Updated: 15:31, January 24, 2024
Govt: Public response to HK's smart recycling systems positive
By Wang Zhan

The smart recycling systems currently comprise smart recycling bins, smart balances, automatic gift redemption units and supporting facilities. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVT)

HONG KONG – The quality of recyclables collected by the smart recycling bins – first installed across Hong Kong under a pilot program on smart recycling system in November 2020 – is better than that of the conventional recycling bins, the secretary for environment and ecology said on Wednesday.

“Preliminary findings show that the operation of the smart recycling systems is generally smooth,” Tse Chin-wan said in a written reply to a related query in the Legislative Council, adding that public responses to the pilot program are positive. 

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The Environmental Protection Department launched the pilot program to test the local application of smart recycling devices connected with Internet of Things technology, with a view to enhancing the efficiency of community recycling services. 

As at the end of 2023, the smart recycling bins at the 76 locations across Hong Kong collected about 3,550 kg of recyclables per day, said Tse

The smart recycling systems currently comprise smart recycling bins, smart balances, automatic gift redemption units, and supporting facilities, including a central data system that can support the GREEN$ Electronic Participation Incentive Scheme together with a compatible system platform for local application. 

Starting from mid-2022, the pilot program has progressively increased the number of application points and expanded the scope of technical trials to build up experience for reference in mapping out the direction for the long-term development of local application of smart recycling systems. 

Since March 2023, smart recycling bins have been progressively set up in public housing estates, private housing estates, villages, shopping malls, universities and government venues, according to the government

“So far, the smart recycling bins installed at 76 locations have all been put into service, which have received positive feedback from the public alongside the gradual increase in the quantity of recyclables collected,” said Tse.

As at the end of 2023, the smart recycling bins at the 76 locations altogether collected about 3,550 kilograms of recyclables per day – paper 1,700 kg, metals 300 kg, plastic bottles 560 kg, other plastics 540 kg, and glass bottles 350 kg, the secretary told the LegCo.

The government is currently conducting a mid-term review on the pilot program. 

“We will take into account the findings of the mid-term review to fine-tune the pilot program as appropriate, such as adjusting the locations of setting up the smart recycling bins and increasing the number of smart recycling bins, subject to the availability of resources,” said the secretary.

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In reviewing the pilot program and formulating the development strategy for the local application of smart recycling systems, the government will take into consideration the application scope of the smart recycling systems including smart recycling bins, their role in the overall strategy on community recycling support, system layout and scale, cost-effectiveness and sources of funding, etc, he said. 

The Green Outreach, which was established by the EPD in 2018 to provide outreach services to the community, conducted about 153,000 community visits, and established connections with more than 4,500 property management companies and residents' organizations, as of December 2023, added the secretary.