‘Release recycling bins data to restore confidence’

The Office of The Ombudsman on Thursday called on the government to release operational data for recycling bins regularly, in order to enhance transparency of the facilities’ effectiveness.

The office launched an investigation into the three-colour bins, following media reports that they were mixed with litter, while some recyclables in the bins were simply thrown away by the contractors.

It said management of the bins had shown “initial improvement” after the Environmental Protection Department took over from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department in October 2020 and put in place a number of measures, such as a more stringent mechanism to monitor contractors.

However, the Ombudsman, Winnie Chiu, said more needs to be done to restore public confidence in the mechanism.

“These bins are very conspicuous in the community…the effectiveness of these bins will directly affect public confidence in the authorities’ measures on waste separation and recovery,” she said.

The office said the EPD has accepted all of their six recommendations, including considering providing more recycling information on the bins and working out a schedule to review the recycling bins policy.

Greenpeace campaigner Leanne Tam agreed that the administration needs to carefully consider the way forward for the city’s recycling strategy.

“I think EPD has to do an overview on all the recycling bins… to calculate the effectiveness of those bins… is there a signage problem? I do think they have to spend time to review the location and usage of the recycling bins, ” she told RTHK.

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