VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are found in wide variety of everyday products such as solvent-based paints/coatings, adhesives, sealants, printing inks, many consumer products, organic solvents and petroleum products.
The use of VOC-containing products will inadvertently release VOCs which cause air pollution and smog. To improve the air quality, the Government has implemented a series of various control measures.One of these measures is to control VOC emissions from regulated products by implementation of the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation (the VOC Regulation) to prohibit import into Hong Kong and manufacture in Hong Kong regulated products with VOC contents exceeding the prescribed limits set out in the VOC Regulation.The VOC Regulation controls the VOC contents of architectural paints/coatings, printing inks and six selected categories of consumer products (air fresheners, hairsprays, multi-purpose lubricants, floor wax strippers, insecticides and insect repellents) in phases starting from 1 April 2007. This regulation was amended in 2009 to extend the control in phases starting from 1 January 2010 to other high VOC-containing products, namely vehicle refinishing paints/coatings, vessel and pleasure craft paints/coatings, adhesives and sealants. In 2017, the regulation was further amended to cover fountain solutions and printing machine cleaning agents with effect from 1 January 2018.
To inform the importers and manufacturers about the implementation of the VOC Regulation, the EPD has sent a notification to the concerned importers and manufacturers. If you have not received it, you may click the below links for the notification letters to understand how the VOC Regulation affects you.
The VOC Regulation:
(a) sets limits on the VOC content of 172 types of products including 51 types of architectural paints/coatings, 7 types of printing inks, 6 broad categories (15 types) of consumer products, 14 types of vehicle refinishing paints/coatings, 36 types of vessel and pleasure craft paints/coatings and 47 types of adhesives and sealants, fountain solutions and printing machine cleaning agents. No person shall import into or manufacture in Hong Kong for local sale or use any regulated products containing VOCs in excess of the prescribed limits in the regulation. Please check the following links for details of the prescribed VOC content limits:
VOC content limits for regulated architectural paints
VOC content limits for regulated printing inks
VOC content limits for regulated consumer products
VOC content limits for regulated vehicle refinishing paints
VOC content limits for regulated vessel paints and regulated pleasure craft paints
VOC content limits for regulated adhesives and regulated sealants
VOC content limits for regulated fountain solutions and regulated printing machine cleaning agents
(b) requires annual reporting by 31 March of the year of sales amount for these regulated products imported or manufactured in Hong Kong after the relevant effective dates of the prescribed VOC content limits, for the previous calendar year, starting in the year following the respective prescribed limits become effective.
(c) requires displaying product information in Material Safety Data Sheets, trade catalogues, packaging or containers for all the regulated products except regulated printing inks and regulated consumer products.
(d) requires installation of emission control devices for all lithographic heatset web printing machines to limit VOCs in the waste gases to no more than 100 mg Carbon/m3 (without dilution, at reference conditions of 0oC and 101.325 kPa) from 1 January 2009 onwards.
You may view details of the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation at Hong Kong e-Legislation by searching for CAP 311W. Also, you may refer to A Guide to the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation for guidance on the VOC Regulation .
For further information, please contact us at:
Environmental Protection Department
Territorial Control Office
Room 3402, Hopewell Centre
183 Queen's Road East
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Enquiry Hotline: 2838 3111 Fax: 2116 4209 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By 31 March of each year, importers or manufacturers shall submit to the EPD a report with the sales amount and specific information of the regulated products imported or manufactured in Hong Kong after the relevant effective dates of the prescribed VOC content limits for the previous calendar year (1 January to 31 December), starting in the year following the respective prescribed limits in the VOC Regulation become effective. For the purpose of submission, please use the Sales and Use Reporting Form (revised on 6 Dec 2019) at this link. Guidance notes (revised on 6 Dec 2019) for completing and submitting the Form can be found at this link.
With effect from 1 April 2007, importers or manufacturers of regulated architectural paints shall notify the EPD of the particulars of any imported or locally manufactured regulated architectural paints prior to the sale or use in Hong Kong. For the purpose of submission, please use the Notification Form (revised on 13 Aug 2019) at this link . Guidance notes (revised on 13 Aug 2019) for completing and submitting the Form can be found at this link.