A charitable organisation that works to cut plastic pollution says young people are reluctant to work in recycling because of misconceptions about the industry and this has left Hong Kong with a shortage of around 1,000 workers.
A Plastic Ocean Foundation on Tuesday said it surveyed more than 2,000 secondary school students, parents and teachers between April and June and found that about a third of the children thought the recycling industry was dirty and dangerous.
Willy Kwong, Executive Director of the foundation, said such misconceptions have led to a lack of young people working in the industry.
"There are no new blood in the field, so most of them are middle-aged or even the underprivileged community working in the recycling industry. It creates a lot of confusion or even misunderstanding to external parties that the industry is not that professional, or it's just a low-skilled job," he told RTHK.
Kwong said the industry's current staffing levels aren't enough to meet a rising demand for recycling.
"There will be a municipal solid waste charging scheme next year. Every day there will be more than 50 tonnes of waste ending up in the community recycling stations. I guess the shortage is about a thousand jobs."
The foundation urged the government to subsidise more courses related to recycling in order to train more young people to work in the industry.