A man carrying plastic bags walks in this undated photo taken in the Central district of Hong Kong. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government on Wednesday announced the initiation of a legislative process for making subsidiary legislation for enhancing its Plastic Shopping Bag (PSB) Charging Scheme and full implementation of the producer responsibility scheme on glass beverage containers (GPRS).

The government suggested doubling the charge for per plastic shopping bag from at least 50 cents to at least HK$1, according to a government press release.

It aims to implement the enhanced scheme on Dec 31, it added.

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After the passage of the amendments, the government will prepare best practice guidelines and allow some time for business and the public to prepare for the new arrangements

The government proposed to amend the Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance to enhance the PSB charging scheme in place, including to remove the present exemption for plastic shopping bags carrying frozen or chilled foodstuff items.

The enhancement also includes tightening the scope of exemption, so that free plastic shopping bags can only be provided while purchasing foodstuff without packaging or not wholly contained in any packaging, or food and beverage takeaway items in non-airtight packaging. It will be subject to the basic principle of one free plastic shopping bag per single transaction.

After the passage of the legislative amendments, the government will prepare best practice guidelines and allow some time for businesses and the public to prepare for the new arrangements. 

The SAR government also proposed to make the Product Eco-responsibility (Regulated Articles) Regulation to provide for the operation details for the implementation of the GPRS, including setting the level of the recycling levy at HK$0.98 per liter, with an aim to fully implement the scheme in the first quarter of 2023.

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In this undated photo, residents stand in line for takeout meals at a busy restaurant in Admiralty, Hong Kong. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

The Environment Bureau published the Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong 2035 last year, setting out the vision of ‘Waste Reduction ‧ Resources Circulation ‧ Zero Landfill’.

“The proposed enhancement to the PSB charging scheme and full implementation of the GPRS will be another step forward in Hong Kong's work on waste reduction and recycling, preparing for the implementation of municipal solid waste charging in the future,” said a government spokesman.