An overview of existing waste minimization methods in Hong Kong
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For decades, landfills have provided a convenient and cost-effective solution to waste treatment of the construction industry. Landfill areas, originally expected to last for about 40 to 50 years, would now be filled up by 2010 in Hong Kong due to fast population growth. This signals the severity of solid waste generation which should be seriously dealt with. Construction waste has become the major source of solid waste in Hong Kong where thousands tons of solid waste are produced every year from construction and demolition activities. Increasing construction waste has caused significant impacts on the environment and aroused public concerns. Therefore, construction waste minimization has become a pressing issue to save landfill space. This chapter aims to: i) investigate the existing landfill space in Hong Kong; ii) reveal the status of construction and demolition waste; iii) investigate the current waste reduction methods; iv) evaluate the effectiveness of each existing waste reduction method; v) predict foreseeable difficulties; and vi) provide recommendations to more effectively minimize waste and save landfill space. To thoroughly investigate the effectiveness of current waste reduction methods, a telephone interview with recyclers, site visits to construction and demolition sites and the centralized recycling plant in Tuen Mun Area 38 have been conducted. Difficulties encountered by various recycling parties are investigated. It has been found that recyclable material quality is poor and investment cost is too high. In addition, lengthy demolition period and limited space were also major barriers. Therefore, the following recommendations are made: i) proposing a higher landfill charging scheme; ii) setting up a centralized centre to recycle materials; iii) gathering support from the Hong Kong government to provide land for recycling plants; iv) implementing innovative demolition methods; v) allowing specific locations for easy access to drop-off recyclable materials; vi) allowing flexible demolition periods; vii) setting up recycling plants in the form of mobile installations; viii) reusing some components as donations to charitable organizations; ix) providing higher flexibility in collecting concrete waste in the Tuen Mun Area 38 recycling plant; and x) balancing the supply and demand of recycled materials through legislations or incentive schemes.
Landfill Research Trends
With permission from Nova Science Publishers Inc. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.Reprinted from: Landfill Research Trends, An overview of existing waste minimization methods in Hong Kong, 253-277, 2007, Albert A. Velinni.