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  • Writer's pictureGREEN Hospitality

GH x Environment and Conservation Fund: Challenges and Solutions for Glass Recycling in Hong Kong

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

This article is bilingual: available in both English and Cantonese, just like all six of our waste reports. Scroll down for the Cantonese version! 這篇文章是雙語的:提供英文和粵語版本,就像我們的所有六份廢物報告一樣。向下滾動以獲取粵語版本


This article is a part of a six-part series: each article offers a glimpse of one of the six reports we put together to conclude our findings from our “Zero-waste to Landfill for the F&B Industry” project, detailing the handling of six common types of waste that the hospitality and F&B industry produces, including glass, metal, paper, plastic, food, textile, electronics, and other waste. You can find all these reports on our website here.


Throughout 2022, GREEN Hospitality worked on the "Zero-waste to Landfill for the F&B Industry: Creating Circular Systems Through Education, Practice & Partnerships" project, which was funded by Environment and Conservation Fund*. The project entailed familiarising 20 F&B outlets in Hong Kong’s SOHO area with the upcoming municipal solid waste (MSW) charge and providing them with training on waste monitoring and waste segregation practices, so as to divert the amount of waste going to landfills and promote the culture of “use less, waste less, and recycle”.


One of the common types of waste we looked at was glass.


The transition from plastic to glass is often the first step in creating sustainable zero-waste operations. However, glass requires more fossil fuels to produce and ship, and therefore recycling is essential to avoid waste mismanagement.


Hong Kong generated 183 tonnes of glass waste daily in 2020. Unfortunately, the majority of glass waste in Hong Kong does not reach recycling facilities due to the low residual commercial value and high collection and logistics costs. Only 14.7 thousand tonnes of waste glass were recycled in 2020, which represents 1% of total glass waste.


What’s more, we found that glass was the biggest waste category for the 20 restaurants that participated in our trial. In total, we were able to divert 10,347kg of glass from the landfill. Still, on average, each F&B generated 5.5kg of glass waste per day, as the unavailability of closed-loop recycling systems and options for restaurants to replace glass containers with alternatives or reverse logistics remained a challenge.


The Hong Kong government has implemented multiple measures to improve glass recycling systems, including waste glass bottle recycling plants, implementing a Producer Responsibility Scheme on Glass Beverage Containers, and a charging scheme for glass beverage containers. Having said that, there is still room for improvement in infrastructure to reach its desired goal of zero-waste to landfill by 2035.


Fortunately, the success of circular economy initiatives in many other countries offers abundant lessons to learn from. For example, in Næstved, Denmark, glass waste is recycled at the Glass Cluster, which not only produces new glass, but also supplies a local city with heating with the insulation generated as a byproduct from the production process . Additionally, Germany has also implemented its successful Pfand municipal deposit return scheme, where shoppers pay a deposit on top of the cost of the beverage itself, and can get their money back when they return their bottles and cans to the store.


Many businesses, regardless of their size, have taken similar approaches. The Ancolie café in New York encourages patrons to return their glass jars for reuse, with incentives such as a credit and a free meal. In Stuttgart, the Tin Tin bar implemented a deposit system for their reusable glass bottles, which customers can return for a small refund. The largest shift will come with initiatives by big corporates. For example, Coca-Cola France aims to soon distribute all their beverages to hotels, restaurants, and cafés using a deposit system, with empty bottles being returned to the factory for cleaning and refilling. This is an indication that these strategies are deemed by companies as both scalable and implementable.


F&B businesses, customers, and the government can all take steps to address this issue. Restaurants can consider using recyclable plastic containers instead of single-use glass containers. While the carbon footprint of glass decreases with each cycle of use, reusing plastic containers means keeping them in use instead of putting them through recycling, which requires energy and emits carbon footprint. Customers can choose to say no to single-use glass containers and instead drink tap water, draught beer, or sparkling water from a soda maker. Refillable glass bottles, plastic bottles, or carton packages are preferable to-go options provided they can be recycled. For both restaurants and customers, glass containers that are no longer used for beverages can be repurposed for storing other items, and waste glass should always be recycled.


The government can provide convenient glass waste collection services and implement a Charging Scheme for Glass Beverage Containers to streamline and drive down the cost of glass recycling, the revenue from which can be used to reinforce infrastructure and implement environmental policies. The government should also promote the reuse of glass bottles and incentivise consumers through schemes like deposit return systems. Optimising transportation to recycling facilities will help minimise carbon emissions, and give the hospitality sector an opportunity to improve reverse logistics for glass-packed products.


Overall, glass reuse and appropriate glass recycling is an important step towards a sustainable and zero-waste future. While the Hong Kong government is taking steps to improve the infrastructure for glass recycling, more needs to be done sooner. It's crucial that individuals and businesses take responsibility for their waste and recycle whenever possible. We encourage you to check out the full report to gain valuable insights on glass recycling and learn more about what you can do to help.


Check out our YouTube video about glass waste management here.


*Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material/event do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Environment and Conservation Fund.



這篇文章是六篇系列文章之一:每篇文章都提供了我們從“餐飲業零廢物到堆填區”項目中得出的六份報告之一的一瞥,詳細介紹了酒店和餐飲業產生的六種常見廢物的處理方式,包括玻璃、金屬、紙張、塑料、食品、紡織品、電子產品和其他廢物。您可以在我們的網站上找到所有這些報告。


在2022年,GREEN Hospitality 開展了由環境及自然保育基金資助的“餐飲業零廢物到堆填區計劃:通過教育、實踐和合作創造循環系統”項目。該項目旨在讓香港SOHO地區20家餐飲店了解即將推出的都市固體廢物收費(MSW),並為其提供廢物監測和分類的培訓,以減少堆填區的廢物量,促進“減少使用,減少浪費和回收再利用”的文化。環境及自然保育基金


我們研究的常見廢物之一是玻璃。


從塑料轉向玻璃通常是創建可持續零浪費運營的第一步。然而,玻璃生產和運輸需要更多的化石燃料,因此回收利用是避免浪費管理的關鍵。


2020年,香港每天產生183噸玻璃廢料。不幸的是,由於低殘留商業價值和高收集和物流成本,香港的大部分玻璃廢料並沒有達到回收設施。 2020年只有14.7千噸玻璃廢料被回收,相當於總玻璃廢料的1%。


此外,我們發現在參加試驗的20家餐廳中,玻璃廢棄物是最大的廢棄物類別。總共,我們成功將10,347公斤的玻璃從填埋場轉移出來。然而,平均每家餐廳每天還是產生了5.5公斤的玻璃廢棄物,因為缺乏閉環回收系統和替代玻璃容器或逆向物流的選項仍然是一個挑戰。


香港政府已經實施了多項措施來改善玻璃回收系統,包括廢玻璃瓶回收工廠、實施玻璃飲料容器生產者責任計劃和即將推出的玻璃飲料容器收費計劃。儘管如此,基礎設施仍有改進的空間,以實現其2035年的“零廢堆填”目標


幸運的是,許多其他國家的循環經濟倡議的成功提供了豐富的經驗教訓。例如,在丹麥的Næstved市,玻璃垃圾在Glass Cluster進行回收利用,不僅生產新玻璃,還利用生產過程中產生的絕緣材料為當地城市供暖。此外,德國還實施了成功的按金瓶回收計劃,消費者在飲料本身的費用之上還需付按金,當他們將瓶子和罐子退回商店時,可以取回他們的押金。


許多企業,無論其規模大小,都採取了類似的方法。美國紐約的Ancolie咖啡館鼓勵顧客將玻璃罐歸還以供再利用,提供積分和免費餐等激勵。德國斯圖加特的Tin Tin酒吧為可重複使用的玻璃瓶實施了按金系統,顧客可以返還瓶子以獲得少量退款。最大的變化將隨著大公司的倡議而來。例如,法國可口可樂旨在不久的將來使用按金系統將其所有飲料分發給酒店、餐廳和咖啡館,空瓶將被返還到工廠進行清洗和再次充填。這表明公司認為這些策略既可擴展又可實施。


餐飲企業、消費者和政府都可以採取措施解決這個問題。餐廳可以考慮使用可回收的塑料容器代替一次性玻璃容器。雖然玻璃的碳足跡在每次使用循環中逐漸減少,但是重新使用塑料容器意味著將它們繼續使用,而不是將它們經過回收,這需要能源並產生碳足跡。消費者可以選擇拒絕使用一次性玻璃容器,而選擇飲用自來水、生啤或用汽水機製作的碳酸水。可回收的玻璃瓶、塑料瓶或紙盒包裝是外帶的更好選擇,前提是它們可以被回收利用。對於餐廳和消費者而言,不再用於飲料的玻璃容器可以被重新用於儲存其他物品,廢玻璃應該始終回收利用。


政府可以提供方便的玻璃垃圾收集服務,並實施玻璃飲料容器收費計劃,以優化和降低玻璃回收成本,所得收益可用於加強基礎設施建設和實施環保政策。政府還應該推廣玻璃瓶的再利用,並通過按金返還繫統等計劃激勵消費者。優化運輸到回收設施將有助於最大程度地減少碳排放,並為酒店業提供改進玻璃包裝產品反向物流的機會。


總的來說,玻璃的重複利用和適當的玻璃回收是走向可持續和零浪費未來的重要一步。雖然香港政府正在採取措施改善玻璃回收的基礎設施,但更多工作需要儘早完成。個人和企業承擔起責任並儘可能地回收垃圾至關重要。我們鼓勵您查看完整報告,了解更多有關玻璃回收的資訊及您可以為此所做的努力。


在此觀看我們有關玻璃廢物管理的YouTube視頻。


*免責聲明: 在此刊物/活動內表達的任何意見、研究成果、結論或建議,並不代表香港特別行政區政府和環境及自然保育基金的觀點。




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