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Cliff’s Notes Version of Municipal Solid Waste Charging (Garbage Levy)







The new policy of the Hong Kong government, Municipal Solid Waste Charging (Garbage Levy), will officially take effect on April 1, 2024. All citizens and sectors in Hong Kong will be required to purchase designated plastic bags and labels for garbage disposal. Citizens must be packed appropriately before disposal. Illegal waste disposal may face a maximum penalty of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months. The cost of designated garbage bags can range from as low as $9 per month to as high as $330. The government provides six months for citizens to adapt to the new policy. Fresh Up has compiled and explained the following information for you.





1. Paths to purchase designated bags


Citizens could purchase the designated garbage bags and labels in supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, online platforms, and vending machines authorized by the government. The government has also promised that garbage bag prices will remain the same in the first three years of the policy.


2. Charging methods



Charging by designated bags


Citizens must first purchase designated garbage bags and pack the garbage before disposal. There are nine different sizes of designated bags, including vest-type bags (3 liters to 20 liters) and flat-mouth design bags (20 liters to 100 liters), with capacities ranging from 3 liters to 100 liters—the charge is $0.11 per liter. 240-liter and 660-liter bags are available for $26 and $73, respectively, mainly for residential premises with garbage chutes to accommodate different users' needs.




Charging methods


If citizens have large items of garbage that cannot fit into the designated garbage bags, they can attach a label to each item before disposal. Each label costs $11.




Charging by weight through "gate-fee"


The government will charge a gate fee for private waste collectors using compacting garbage trucks to collect and dispose of garbage at waste treatment facilities and will be charged a late fee based on the weight of the trash. The weight-based charging primarily applies to large or irregularly shaped garbage disposed of by commercial and industrial establishments and some residential buildings.

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3. Enforcement and fines


The first six months of implementing the garbage levy will be an "adaptation period" primarily focused on persuasion and warnings. Afterward, a fixed penalty notice of $1,500 will be issued for any violations found. For serious offenses, the maximum fine is $25,000 and imprisonment for six months for a first conviction, and for subsequent convictions, the maximum penalty is $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.


Q&A


1. How is a violation of garbage disposal defined?


A violation occurs when citizens fail to use designated garbage bags or labels when packaging garbage. Suppose designated bags used for disposal will be considered a violation. Still, the citizens must adequately tie garbage bags, or if the trash inside punctures the bag, citizens need to cover one more bag on the outside. Citizens should avoid these situations before waste disposal to avoid violating the regulations.


2. How do you identify the authenticity of designated garbage bags and labels?


Designated bags and designated labels are available for sale at a few thousand of authorized retail outlets. The garbage bags also have anti-counterfeiting features, including barcodes, QR codes, Holograms labels, batch numbers, and anti-interference designs. It helps prevent citizens from accidentally purchasing counterfeit garbage bags and labels.


3. How can one reduce expenditure on garbage fees?


The government actively promotes waste reduction at the source and has added many recycling bins and food waste recycling machines in various districts. The Environmental Protection Department has also launched the "GREEN@COMMUNITY" program to encourage citizens to learn about waste reduction and recycling by exchanging recyclable waste or items for rewards. These initiatives can help citizens reduce their garbage disposal costs.


If you want to learn more about the designated garbage bag vending machines or seek professional advice, please fill out the Contact Us form on the FreshUp website to get more details around the clock.


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