Just recently, Lee Tung Avenue added a recycling machine in the corridor towards Exit D of Wan Chai’s MTR station. I think it’s a fabulous idea that needs to be worked on more aggressively.
You pop a bottle into the round opening and it’s supposed to give you points from the company collecting these bottles (Note that not all recyclable bottles are collected, you scan the barcode and the machine tells you if they accept it🤔). I’m not sure what the accumulated points can be used for or whether it’s just like TripAdvisor, where you just get a virtual pat on the back for doing the community a service.
What would be better is to work with octopus, where a certain token sum is put back into your card. Even 5 or 10 cents would be a worthwhile incentive for people to detour out of their way in order to put the bottles in. The government can then reduce the messy sights on the street where the recycling bins are packed to the brim and often spilling over on weekends.
Another improvement on the machine is that the bottles aren’t crushed immediately, but simply dropped into a receptacle within. This was really cheap on the part of the recycling company, they should be getting the machines which compact the plastic bottles this saving bin liners. Go for maximum savings right? Bottles are bulky and take up so much space.
This article from today’s SCMP:
It highlights a particular company (Vitasoy) that is obviously a very much loved brand in Hong Kong, where it’s tetra packs constitute 75% of all drink packets in Hong Kong’s trash. Why does Vitasoy not participate in collection by having these machines collect drink packs? Perhaps for every 20 packets consumed, one could collect enough points or cash to redeem a pack. How about partnering with 7-11 stores? 7-11s and Circle K are the major distributors of these drinks around the city. They could act as a collection point like they do for the Kowloon dairy milk bottles (washed Kowloon milk glass bottles redeem for 50 cents at 7-11).
Intrinsically, most people do want to do the right thing, they just don’t want to go out of their way, wasting precious time if it isn’t as rewarding as what they already need to do. Hong Kong has a work ethic culture that is one of the toughest in the world. There’s a minimum wage but it doesn’t match the cost of living. Everyone of all socio-economic level is under pressure to make every second count in order to afford living here.
If recycling is incentivized and promoted in Hong Kong (due to its high urban concentration), it could easily become a way of life and help balance out this fast paced throwaway culture.
just saw a new machine at Wanchai MTR! Now they need to put another machine to accept all the plastic bottles that these machines reject so that you don’t need to scout another 20 minutes for a recycling bin…..