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Your guide to Hong Kong’s upcoming waste-charging scheme

By Lily Valette 2 April 2024

Header image courtesy of Environmental Protection Department

“Dump less, save more” is the new motto when it comes to waste in Hong Kong. Long-awaited, the government-implemented waste-charging scheme aimed at reducing waste and promoting recycling will officially be implemented on 1 August 2024.

As the proposed waste-charging scheme was pushed back by a few months in order to give everyone more time to prepare and adjust, Hong Kong people and businesses can now begin the process of familiarising themselves with the new waste disposal system.

Now that we’re going to be charged for how much general waste we dispose of, how does it work, and how can we make sure we are doing it right? Here’s all you need to know about Hong Kong’s upcoming waste-charging scheme.

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Why is Hong Kong implementing the scheme?

Each day, 1.53 kilograms of waste per person are released into Hong Kong landfills. Multiply that by around seven million people living in Hong Kong, then again by 365 for each day of the year, and you get an idea of the waste treatment crisis we’re facing. All that is without considering climate change and the urgent need to recycle more!

In an effort to promote recycling in the city, the upcoming municipal solid waste (MSW) charging scheme is the government’s next step towards better resource and waste management. Today, the government is placing MSW at the heart of its larger waste-reduction plan, hopefully encouraging behavioural change within the community.

Photo: Environmental Protection Department

How does it work?

It’s time for waste disposal 101. As of 1 August 2024, all household waste disposed of at refuse collection points, by refuse collection vehicles, or at any bin sites will be charged according to pre-paid rubbish bags at 11 cents per litre. The designated rubbish bags will be available in nine different sizes, from three-litre up to 100-litre capacity. A flat rate label of $11 will be available for purchase to dispose of any oversized item.

The rubbish bags and label will be available for purchase in authorised retail locations such as supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, and even online, including in 7-Eleven, Circle K, Wellcome, Market Place, JHC, City’super, Foodpanda, HKTV Mall, Watsons, and more places we all visit in our daily lives.

The mandatory use of designated garbage bags will not apply to waste disposal in public bins, where you will still be able to dispose of personal consumption items.

Learn more about the MSW charging scheme here.

How do I reduce waste?

With the implementation of the “polluter-pays” principle, reducing waste will become synonymous with saving money! The easiest way to reduce solid waste is to recycle: disposing of recyclables at various collection points around the city will not incur any extra costs in the new waste-charging scheme. In fact, it is already free to drop off your recyclable items at more than 170 collections points around Hong Kong.

Developed by the Environmental Protection Department, the Green@Community network, which is composed of recycling stores, recycling bins, and mobile recycling stations in all districts, accepts nine types of recyclable, waste such as plastic, metals, paper, glass, and more. Find a recycling station near you and learn about recycling in Hong Kong here.

Join the city-wide effort to cut down on waste today by recycling, and you’ll be more than ready when Hong Kong’s new waste-charging scheme is implemented on 1 August!

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Lily Valette


Born and raised in the French countryside, Lily arrived in Hong Kong looking for an adventure. Passionate about books, she spent some time in Parisian publishing houses and is the author of an illustrated book about hair. Life in Hong Kong for her entails looking for seaside places to eat and a lot of hiking.