Hong Kong Environment Secretary pledges legal action against retailers selling fake garbage bags due to upcoming waste levy system



Hong Kong’s environment secretary will take legal action against retailers selling unlicensed bags in preparation for a future waste levy system after the sale of government-approved bags began on Friday. I made it clear.

Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Ecology Tse Ching-wan also announced that real estate management would be more effective after the public expressed concern that some companies were proposing to increase fees for improperly bagged garbage and bulky waste. It asked the department to specify the additional charges that would result from this scheme.

“Companies can set their own fees for bulk waste disposal, which may include transportation costs,” he said after meeting with district councilors.

“But in discussions with residents, we need to clearly list out how much of the fee is related to the waste levy scheme. They cannot confuse it.”

Some convenience stores began selling government-certified garbage bags on Friday.Photo: Edmund So

Tse pointed out that even if residents “unintentionally” purchased fake designated garbage bags, they would not be violating the law.

“The government will take action and take legal action against any place selling counterfeit garbage bags,” he said, stressing that relevant departments will monitor the situation.

Six-month grace period for Hong Kong’s waste plan ‘may be extended if necessary’

Mr Tse reminded residents to buy bags from authorized outlets such as convenience stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and online platforms.

The scheme encourages more recycling and reduces waste by requiring citizens to purchase government-approved garbage bags (available in nine sizes) for 11 Hong Kong cents (1 US cent) per liter. The aim is to reduce emissions. Bag sizes range from 3 liters (0.79 gallons) up to 100 liters.

We also sell designated labels for large and irregularly sized products.

Some convenience stores began selling the bags on Friday, while some other venues are expected to start selling them next month, according to the government website.

Minister of Environment and Ecology Tse Ching-wan (right) promises legal action against the sale of fake designated bags.Photo: Edmund So

Approved in 2021, the waste levy plan was due to take effect on April 1, but authorities last week announced a four-month delay, citing the need to educate the public amid widespread confusion. did.

Hong Kong should get into the habit of dismantling larger waste now, says minister

There will be a six-month grace period starting August 1st. Residents who do not comply with the new rules will mainly be given verbal warnings.

After the period ends, failure to use the specified bags or labels will result in a fixed fine of HK$1,500 (US$191). Serious offenders or repeat offenders may be prosecuted and face fines of HK$25,000 to HK$50,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.

Earlier, authorities launched an investigation into suspicions that internet users were selling trial versions of the designated garbage bags before they were officially rolled out.

In early January, the Environmental Protection Agency noted that several photos of green trash bags with the words “designated bag” and “trial use only” printed on them were forwarded to an online forum.

The ministry said it suspected the bags were dummy bags provided to participants in a pilot project aimed at fostering new waste disposal practices. The project started in 2018 and will be completed in 2023. He said customs had been notified of the findings for follow-up investigation.

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