Policy and design for waste recycling in Hong Kong communities

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Policy and design for waste recycling in Hong Kong communities

 

Author: Lo, Chi Hang
Title: Policy and design for waste recycling in Hong Kong communities
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2016
Subject: Environmental policy -- China -- Hong Kong.
Refuse and refuse disposal -- China -- Hong Kong.
Recycling (Waste, etc.) -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Design
Pages: xvi, 207 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2929109
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8787
Abstract: The promotion of waste recycling is a key direction in environmental protection. It can help to decrease the demand for raw materials and their extraction, minimise problems encountered in transporting materials and reduce the amount of resources consumed in the transportation process. It can also lower the energy consumed and manpower employed in product production processes. Moreover, negative environmental impacts such as increases in the production of municipal solid waste can be significantly minimised through recycling. The life of landfills can be extended and the cost of managing waste reduced. More importantly, recycling can both directly and indirectly support and encourage positive lifestyles and attitudes among citizens by raising their awareness of environmental and human needs. One of the critical elements of recycling is household recycling. Encouraging individuals and communities to contribute to environmental protection can bring about a better living environment for all. In this regard, education and public promotion are necessary tools for helping the public to understand the importance of participating in household recycling. In other words, it is important to raise public awareness of the crucial role played by each member of society and each household in the quest to attain a better living environment. To achieve greater household participation in recycling, policymakers, professionals and the public at large must take internal and external environmental factors, cultural factors and physical factors into account. It is only through careful long-term planning, implementation and management that household recycling can be encouraged and made successful. According to previous studies, the participation rate of communities and households in waste minimisation and recycling is still very low. Complex and crowded living conditions and modern lifestyles have contributed to the societal neglect of environmental issues. Specifically, the waste recycling implementation in Hong Kong is still unsatisfactory. City's waste management and environmental policy continues to be based on non-legislative command and control decisions made by the government. Consequently, despite the prolonged recycling campaign and the minimisation policy among the community and industry, the amount of municipal solid waste has been increasing and the disposal problem growing for the past three decades. It is thus necessary to review and examine waste recycling and its direction in Hong Kong so that a better environment can be created for future generations.
This study discusses the issue of recycling, first by examining and reviewing the waste recycling policies of densely populated Asian cities with lifestyles and residential conditions comparable to those of Hong Kong. It then empirically investigates how various living environments and social change affect the activities of waste recycling in Hong Kong. Finally, concerns over the design of recycling facilities and their provision, which encourage community and household participation in waste recycling, are addressed. The objectives are to (i) review and investigate the existing waste management, recycling policies, designs and practices in modern Asian cities that have lower waste generation rates than Hong Kong, (ii) understand the attitudes and behaviour towards recycling of Hong Kong people in the lower socioeconomic stratum, (iii) suggest possible recycling guidelines for Hong Kong, and (iv) explore feasible designs for waste recycling facilities in Hong Kong. To understand and observe the attitudes and behaviour toward recycling of Hong Kong people in the lower socioeconomic stratum, an experiment was conducted involving 200 households in public housing estates. Various questionnaires and forms were distributed to collect data on recycling attitudes and behaviour within a designated period. The results indicate that the success of recycling and waste management depends on demographic factors. The lower socioeconomic households surveyed showed greater environmental awareness than households with higher levels of education and socioeconomic status. The community's recycling attitudes and behaviour are major factors influencing the success of recycling campaigns. Recycling behaviour is influenced by a neighbourhood's attitudes, especially in high-rise buildings or densely populated areas. In addition, the results show that is necessary to raise environmental awareness in a Chinese community. Chinese people often consider recycling to be an economic activity rather than viewing it from an environmental perspective. Their understanding and perceptions of recycling must be reconstructed though public education and promotion over the long term. Recycling should not be just an alternative method of waste disposal but a meaningful task in which the community must cooperate and put considerable effort into to accomplish.

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