The Struggle for Sustainable Waste Management in Hong Kong: 1950s–2010s



As Hong Kong’s landfills are expected to reach saturated conditions by 2020, the city can no longer rely on landfilling alone as the sole solution for waste treatment in the long term. Drawing on five months of archival research at the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Public Records Office (PRO) in 2016 as well as 17 months of fieldwork conducted between 2012, 2013 and 2016, this article provides a much-needed overview of why sustainable waste management has always been such a challenge for Hong Kong. Focusing on the city’s dependence on landfills and its failure to integrate alternative waste management technologies, namely incineration, into its current waste management regime, we explicate Hong Kong’s waste management predicaments from the 1950s to the present day. Through a historical lens, we argue that Hong Kong’s waste problems have a historical root and that they are unlikely to be resolved unless the government is willing to learn from its past mistakes and adopt a much more proactive approach in the near future.


Waste managementlandfillsland reclamationincinerationrecyclingsustainabilityHong Kong
  • Year: 2019
  • Volume: 2 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 10
  • DOI: 10.5334/wwwj.40
  • Submitted on 4 Aug 2019
  • Accepted on 12 Oct 2019
  • Published on 6 Nov 2019
  • Peer Reviewed