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Persuasive Essay about Recycling

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With significant population growth and the rise of consumerism, the total amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in Hong Kong has increased sharply. Among all three categories, domestic waste has a major influence on MSW growth. In light of waste management in Hong Kong, most of the MSW will be disposed of in landfills, which leads to pressing landfill saturation problems. Since Hong Kong is facing a land shortage and building new landfills is not sustainable, some experts are considering implementing a mandatory volume-based charging scheme in all domestic premises, while others are skeptical about it. Therefore, this essay will examine the advantages and disadvantages of the scheme.

One argument in favor of this waste charging scheme is that it may decrease the disposal rate of MSW and increase the recycling rate by providing financial incentives to the public. By applying a volume-based charging approach, the residents are required to pay for the waste generated. In order to mitigate the burden, they may consider recycling their waste by sorting them and placing them accordingly in the three recycle bins. This is evident in the case of South Korea. In 1995, the country implemented a volume-based waste fee system. The result is favorable, with around a 25% drop in the per-capita disposal rate from 1994 to 2005 and a 4 times increase in the collection rate of recyclables from 1994 to 2008 (Lo, 2016). This demonstrates that the approach may enhance the recycling rate in the short term. In short, based on the successful experience of South Korea, this scheme may contribute to recycling in Hong Kong.

Although the waste charging system may enhance the recycling rate, residents’ opposition can possibly minimize the effectiveness of the scheme. Since households are required to purchase pre-designated garbage bags of different sizes to collect their waste, payment is needed. In this way, the system may increase the “financial burden of residents, especially low-income families” (Yeung & Chung, 2018, p. 7506). Besides the financial burden, people may focus on how to avoid the fees rather than adopting recycling practices. The initial idea of “waste less, pay less” may not be successfully promoted, leading to a reduction in the effectiveness of the approach. Also, a study by Wan, Shen, and Choi (2018) examined the different degrees of public support for waste management policy. The waste charging scheme is the least supported. In summary, it has been shown in this review that the system is not generally supported and its main idea may not be successfully promoted to increase the recycling rate in Hong Kong.

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Despite the drawbacks brought by the scheme, it may increase public environmental awareness and help the government to develop recycling-related policies with more public support. According to a report conducted by Brown and Johnstone (2014), the public who had been exposed to the PAYT system become more accepting of incentive-based schemes. This may be due to their increased understanding of the environmental issue through education and promotion by the government. By knowing the negative influences brought by waste generation and discarding waste in landfills, people may perhaps be aware of the importance of waste reduction and recycling and will be more supportive to recycling-related policies. To conclude, the scheme may assist the government to commence waste management policies more successfully.

Some experts, however, have expressed concerns about whether the policy encourages recycling practices. In Hong Kong, only three types of recycling bins are found. It is certain that the types of recyclables are limited. Food waste contributes to around 34% of the MSW disposed of in landfills. Even then, it is difficult to find “corresponding recycling facilities” within communities (Wan, Shen & Choi, 2018, p. 483). As a result, due to inconvenience in finding corresponding recycling bins, some residents may simply discard wastes in their designated garbage bags. People with a limited understanding of recycling may even view food waste as non-recyclable. Apart from lacking recycling facilities, some residents may discard their waste in public bins to avoid payment. Thus far, the thesis has argued that domestic waste charging schemes may not effectively promote recycling due to poor development of the recycling chain.

This essay has presented the contributions and drawbacks of domestic volume-based charging schemes. It promotes waste reduction and growth in the recycling rate in the short term. As for the advantage in the long term, it increases public awareness of environmental sustainability. However, the scheme may be opposed by the public due to financial issues and its effectiveness in recycling may be degraded due to insufficient support by recycling infrastructure. The approach is supported in this essay. To further increase its effectiveness, the government should decrease the number of public bins to avoid illegal disposal and allocate funds for recycling facilities construction to improve the recycling chain. Implementation of a mandatory domestic waste charging scheme will be challenging. Concerted efforts of the government, the public, and environmental professionals are required.

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Persuasive Essay about Recycling. (2023, November 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
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