GBA rule of law action plan released

Waste bag materials clarified

The Environmental Protection Department today clarified that to reduce the use of raw plastic, designated bags for Municipal Solid Waste Charging must be made of at least 20% recycled plastic, adding that it has already taken into consideration the durability of the bags and the principle of environmental protection.


In response to recent media reports and online discussions concerning the material for manufacturing designated bags, the department explained that all plastics claimed to be degradable require specific environments and temperatures, such as exposure to ultraviolet light or high temperature, to be completely degraded.


However, the department also pointed out that these conditions are absent in the anaerobic environment of the landfills in Hong Kong, therefore it takes a long time for plastics to decompose in the landfills.


Moreover, some degradable plastics, particularly oxo-degradable plastics, are in fact less environmentally friendly, as they will fragment into microplastics when they break down in the natural environment such as the ocean, exacerbating the harm to the environment while hindering recycling.


The use of oxo-degradable plastics has been banned in places like the European Union.


In Hong Kong, the manufacturing and sale of oxo-degradable plastic products will be banned starting April 22, the department added.