30 October 2013

Survey Findings on Views of the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Charging Scheme in Hong Kong
Released by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK



A telephone survey was conducted from 22 to 24 October 2013 by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (HKIAPS), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to gauge public views on the introduction and implementation details of municipal solid waste (MSW) charging scheme in Hong Kong.  824 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 45.7%.  The sampling error is + or –3.41% at a confidence level of 95%. 

Major findings are summarized as follows: 

While more than half of the respondents (54.4%) said in principle they supported the introduction of MSW charging scheme to reduce solid waste, 16.8% were against.  26.6% neither agreed nor disagreed.  When the respondents were asked whether the scheme could actually reduce solid waste, over two-fifths (42.5%) of them gave an affirmative answer, 16.6% held a negative view, and over one-third (36.0%) answered 'in-between'. 

Concerning their views over the implementation details of MSW charging scheme for domestic waste in premises with building management, over half of the respondents (56.4%) preferred having individual waste producers to use pre-paid designated bags for disposing waste and one-third (34.1%) opted for having building management to collect waste and pay collectively to the government.  As for premises without building management and the waste being disposed by garbage collectors or by self-arrangement, while 53.4% of the respondents preferred volume-based charging mechanism, 31.4% showed preference for the weight-based one.  

In order to avoid illegal waste-dumping into public litter bins when the MSW charging scheme is introduced, less than a quarter (22.1%) of the respondents agreed to reduce the number of public litter bins and over two-fifths (45.8%) opposed this idea.  26.6% answered 'in-between'.

Regarding the level of MSW charge per household per month (assuming three persons in a household), over half of the respondents (54.9%) considered the level of below HK$30 as appropriate in effecting changes in waste-reducing behavior.  The corresponding figures are 19.5%, 11.3%, and 4.6% for the ranges of HK$30 - HK$44, HK$45 - HK$59, and $60 or above. 

Besides domestic waste, HKIAPS also asked the respondents about their views on introducing MSW charging scheme for disposing commercial and industrial (C&I) waste.  While 37.7% of the respondents opined that the MSW charging scheme should be implemented in C&I sector first, 7.0% chose the domestic one.  Instead of implementation to different sectors by phases, nearly half (48.4%) said that this scheme should be launched in both domestic and C&I sectors at the same time.