Loading

Guidelines & References

Control on Import and Export of Waste

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q.1 Are all waste import and export activities prohibited in Hong Kong?
A. Not all waste import and export activities are prohibited in Hong Kong. In fact, not all kinds of waste is a health threat. For instance, waste paper, plastic and metal scraps can generally be recycled into new products and this is a benefit to the environment. In Hong Kong, import/export of hazardous wastes are subject to a statutory permit control, whereas import/export of prescribed non-hazardous wastes for recycling are generally exempted from this permit control. Under the Basel Ban, all hazardous waste coming from the banned developed countries are prohibited from import into Hong Kong.
 
Q.2 What specific kinds of waste shipments are controlled in Hong Kong?
A. In Hong Kong, a comprehensive control on import and export of waste has been effected through a permit system under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO) since 1 September 1996. Under the control, import or export of any waste requires a permit issued by the Environmental Protection Department unless the waste is: i) listed in the Sixth Schedule of the WDO, ii) uncontaminated as defined under the WDO and iii) intended for a genuine recycling or reuse purpose.
 
Q.3 Is the transshipment of hazardous waste in Hong Kong subject to control?
A. Transshipment of hazardous waste through Hong Kong involving off-loading and re-loading of the waste within the territory is subject to control, and separate permits for import and export will be required. The off-loading and re-loading of the waste in the Hong Kong territory would present a potential waste stranding problem in Hong Kong and thus the control of such activities by mean of a statutory permit system is required.

Transshipment of hazardous waste which does not involve any off-loading and re-loading of the waste is exempted from the permit control but the EPD's prior consent is still required under the Basel Convention.
 
Q.4 What are the offence under the import and export control in Hong Kong? What is the maximum penalty for contravening the legislation?
A. In Hong Kong, the import and export of hazardous waste and the import and export of any waste for a purpose other than reuse/recycling require a permit. Conducting these import and export activities without a permit issued by the EPD is an offence under the legal framework. The maximum penalty for violating the legislative requirement is a fine of HK$200,000 and 6 months imprisonment for the first offence, and a fine of HK$500,000 and two years imprisonment for a second or subsequent offence. The illegally imported wastes are required to be returned to the place of origin and the cost will be paid by the offender.
 
Q.5 Are people not allowed to import waste for disposal in Hong Kong under the existing legislation?
A. Under the WDO, any import of waste for disposal requires a permit issued by the EPD. The maximum penalty for violating the legislative requirement is a fine of HK$200,000 and 6 months imprisonment for the first offence, and a fine of HK$500,000 and two years imprisonment for a second or subsequent offence. The illegally imported wastes are required to be returned to the place of origin and the cost will be paid by the offender.

From time to time, some incoming cargoes may be found defective or damaged at the time of arrival and cannot be used/ handled for their originally intended purpose. Such imported waste is generally prohibited from disposal in Hong Kong and should be returned to the export places as soon as possible.

 
Q.6 How to apply for an import and export permit?
A. To apply for a permit, the applicant should complete an application form and return it together with the necessary documents and prescribed fee to the EPD. The prescribed fee is charged for processing each permit application and is non-refundable. The permit may cover a single shipment or multiple shipments for which different fees are prescribed. The maximum validity period of a multiple permit is one year. Permit application forms and guidelines for permit applications can be downloaded at the EPD's website.
 
Q.7 What is the application fee for an import or export permit?
A. A prescribed fee is charged for processing each permit application and is non-refundable. The prescribed fee for the application of a single shipment and a multiple shipment permit are now HK$11,595 and HK$18,430 respectively. The fees are subject to review at regular time intervals.
 
Q.8 Are all permit applications allowed?
A. After considering a permit application, the EPD may either issue or refuse to issue a permit. In the case of refusal, the EPD will give reasons for doing so to the applicant. The EPD is empowered to disapprove any proposed waste shipment which is not in-line with the requirements of the WDO.

For approved waste shipments, there are terms and conditions to the permit to ensure that the waste will be managed in an environmentally sound manner. For instance, a permittee is required to return the waste to the place of origin if any shipment could not be completed as intended.
 
Q.9 Is the Basel Convention which governing the control of transboundary movements of hazardous waste applicable to Hong Kong?
A. China is a party to the Basel Convention. The Convention is applicable to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under China's sovereignty. The EPD is designated as the competent authority under the Convention to enforce the control on import, export and transit of hazardous waste in the HKSAR. Also, HKSAR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mainland China in 2000, which was updated and renamed as "Cooperation Arrangement on Control of Waste Movements Between the Mainland and HKSAR" in 2007. It requires the transboundary movements of waste between the two areas or waste shipments to overseas via the ports of the Mainland or the HKSAR to follow the Basel Convention's prior informed consent mechanism.
 
Q.10 What is the contact point in Hong Kong for receiving notification of hazardous waste shipments under the Basel Convention?
A. The contact point in Hong Kong for receiving notification of hazardous waste shipments under the Basel Convention is:

Territorial Control Office
Environmental Compliance Division

Environmental Protection Department
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China,
28th Floor, Southorn Centre,
130 Hennessy Road, Wanchai,
Hong Kong, China

Fax: (852) 2305 0453

 
Q.11 What is 'Basel Ban'? Is it implemented in Hong Kong?
A. 'Basel Ban' refers to the ban under the amendment of the Basel Convention, on export of hazardous waste from states which are members of OECD, EC and Liechtenstein (the "ban countries") to other states. Having recognized that the shipment of hazardous waste from developed countries to developing countries would constitute a high risk of not having the wastes managed in an environmental sound manner, the parties to Basel Convention adopted, in the 3rd Conference of Parties, an amendment to the Basel Convention to ban the shipment of hazardous wastes from developed countries to developing countries. In light of the above Decision, WDO has been amended to this effect. The EPD will not issue permits for import of any hazardous waste from any country listed in the Ninth Schedule of the WDO.
 
Q.12 Will the EPD allow the shipment of hazardous waste between Hong Kong and a non-Basel party?
A. According to the Basel Convention, Parties are prohibited from exporting and importing any hazardous waste from and to non-Basel parties unless such movement is subject to bilateral, multilateral or regional agreements. At present, there is no bilateral agreement in this regard applicable to Hong Kong. The EPD would not consider any application for shipment of hazardous waste (such as waste batteries) between Hong Kong and a non-Basel party.
 
Q.13 What kinds of waste are regarded as hazardous in Hong Kong?
A. Examples of hazardous waste include waste batteries, waste oil, glass waste from TV/computer monitors. A comprehensive list of 'prescribed hazardous waste' subject to waste import/export permit control is given in the Seventh Schedule of WDO. It should also be noted that those wastes that are not listed in the Sixth Schedule and Seventh Schedule are subject to the same control as hazardous wastes.
 
Q.14 What are the measures adopted by Hong Kong to prevent /intercept illegal waste shipments?
A. In collaboration with the Customs and Excise Department, the EPD undertakes spot-checking of waste consignments at various import and export control points. The EPD also establishes an intelligence network to receive information of dubious/illegal waste shipment from various parties such as overseas enforcement agencies.

The EPD has also adopted various local and overseas channels to publicize its waste import/export control requirement.
 
Q.15 If I am aware of a suspected illegal waste shipment to/from Hong Kong, how can I inform the EPD?
A. Any suspected illegal waste shipment to/from Hong Kong should be reported to the EPD as soon as possible. Please contact us by phone (852-2755-5462), or by fax (852-2305-0453).
 
Q.16 Are all waste computer monitors and waste televisions (CRT, LCD, LED and Plasma Displays) subject to the WDO permit control?
A. Yes, all waste computer monitors and waste televisions with different display technologies, including cathode ray tubes (CRT), liquid crystal display (LCD), light emission diode (LED) and plasma display, are not listed in the Sixth Schedule of the WDO. A permit is required from this department if anyone wants to import, export or transship such waste in Hong Kong; otherwise, it is an offence under the WDO and the waste computer monitors and waste televisions would be returned to the place of origin.

 

 

Back to topBackTable of Content

User defined date2: 
Wednesday, 16 November, 2011