The Legislative Council on Thursday passed a motion to introduce a charging scheme for glass beverage containers in Hong Kong.
The scheme, which will take effect in the second quarter of next year, is aimed at encouraging bottle suppliers to do more to recycle their containers.
Under the arrangement, glass beverage bottle importers and suppliers are required to pay a HK$0.98 levy for every one-liter bottle they distribute in the city.
The environment and ecology minister, Tse Chin-wan, said the scheme is in line with the city’s “polluter pays” principle, and called it a step forward in environmental protection.
He noted that two glass management companies have already been providing waste glass container collection and treatment services across the territory.
Under the new scheme, bottle importers and suppliers are required to register with the Environmental Protection Department at the start of next year.
Tse said exemptions will be provided for registered firms which have in place a recovery and reuse arrangement for their beverage bottles. However, they will have to pay an application fee of HK$9,250.
Environmental group Green Earth said officials should also do more to encourage consumers to recycle their bottles.
"The government can introduce a deposit-and-return system, so that when a consumer buys a bottle of wine, you pay a deposit, then the consumer will try to find ways to return the bottle," the group's founder, Edwin Lau, told RTHK.
DAB lawmaker Elizabeth Quat supported the new charging system, saying she hopes its implementation can improve Hong Kong’s overall recycling network.