3.1 Plan Your Business
3.2 Start Your Business
3.3 Manage Your Business
3.4 Withdraw Your Business

Section 3
Environmental Legislation and Other Requirements – Generic Industries/Trades


All trade and industrial activities in Hong Kong must operate in accordance with the relevant statutory environmental requirements. Going beyond compliance, relevant non-statutory requirements are also applicable to business activities.

Within a business life cycle, namely Plan, Start, Manage and Withdraw Your Business, you should identify the environmental legislation and requirements relevant to your business operations and subsequently implement appropriate measures to ensure or even exceed compliance.

 

 

This section presents environmental requirements that are generic for all trade/industry categories. In addition to these generic requirements, some requirements are specific to individual trade/industry categories.

You are therefore advised to read this section in conjunction with Section 4 if your business operation falls within the scope of Section 4.


3.1 Plan Your Business

What should I Consider when I Plan My Business?


You should take into account the following 3 factors:
• Location and land use zone
• Neighbourhood environment
• Previous usage of premises


Location and Land Use

 

All land in Hong Kong is designated for specific uses through stipulation of the relevant Outline Zoning Plan according to the Town Planning Ordinance [1], for example industrial, commercial, recreational, country park, urban area, etc. Depending on the nature of your business operation, you should select an appropriate site for your business operation. This will facilitate subsequent management of environmental issues and Environmental Impact Assessment process if required.

 

Under the Building Ordinance, application should be made to the Buildings Department (BD) for any changes in the use of buildings. Unless prior approval has been granted by BD, no residential buildings can be used for industrial activities.

 

In Hong Kong, there are 3 industrial estates that are designated for industrial operations. You may consider establishing your industrial operations within these estates. The criteria for admission to these industrial estates are:

 

The industrial activity must be of a nature which effectively prohibits it from being carried out in an ordinary multi-storey industrial or commercial building available in the open market in Hong Kong.
The activity must not be classified as an offensive trade under government regulations.
The primary activity must not be storage or warehousing.

 

graphicAdvantages of Industrial Estates:

Located far away from residential areas and hence it is less likely that nuisance resulting from the industrial operations could affect local residents
Can cope with industrial operations that are not suitable for multi-storey buildings
Excellent transport links to urban area, airport, container terminal and Mainland China
Fully serviced with roads, drains, sewers, electricity and water

 

Locations of the Industrial Estate and Shatin Fuel Restriction Area
Locations of the Industrial Estate and Shatin Fuel Restriction Area

 

graphicHong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation
For more details or enquiries on the industrial estates, please contact the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation:
Tel: (852) 2629 1818
Website: www.hkstp.org

 

graphicFuel Restriction Area
In the Shatin Fuel Restriction Area, only gaseous fuel is legally permitted for commercial and industrial appliances except for appliances used in construction sites or for emergency purposes.

 

graphicEcoPark
The Hong Kong SAR Government has developed the EcoPark in Tuen Mun Area 38, which provides long term land for local environmental and recycling industry. For more details, please refer to the web link:

www.epd.gov.hk/epd/ecopark

 

When selecting different locations for establishing your business operations, it is also prudent to consider the adequacy of environmental infrastructure and pollution control facilities (e.g. sewerage, waste disposal, wastewater treatment facilities, etc.) provided in those areas or premises in addition to business considerations (i.e. costs, logistics arrangement, etc.). Prioritised consideration may be given to those purpose-built premises which are equipped with centralized facilities (e.g. common air duct, centralized grease trap, waste handling facilities, etc.). See Section 2 for an overview of the environmental infrastructure in Hong Kong.

 

graphicExample of Site Selection – Land Cost vs Environmental Cost
A food manufacturer decided to build its factory in a remote area due to its cheaper land costs. However, no sewerage is provided in that area. As a consequence, the manufacturer had to install extra wastewater treatment facilities to treat its effluent in order to fulfill the relevant legal standards.

 

Neighbourhood Environment

 

Considerations should also be given to the characteristics of neighbourhood environment and the sensitivity of other nearby premises to environmental nuisance, e.g. dust, odour, noise. This may affect the likelihood of triggering environmental complaints in the future. Such considerations include:

 

Are there any environment-sensitive premises, e.g. residential buildings, schools, hospitals, etc., close to the planned site of your company?
Are there any environment-sensitive tenants (e.g. elderly tenants undertaking activities requiring quiet environment, etc.) within the building that your company plans to move in?


If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you will need to exercise extra care in planning and designing your operation processes and facilities or even consider the use of suitable environmental control systems. Otherwise, it is likely that your future operation would attract environmental complaints.

 

Previous Usage of Premises

 

You should look into the past usage of the premises that you intend to use before making your decision. This is because there may be contamination to the land [2,3] (e.g. oil-contaminated land) or damages to the building (e.g. severely corroded wastewater pipes) caused by the previous operations. And this will in turn incur additional costs for you to clean up the land or restore the building prior to moving into the premises.

Example of Land Contamination Example of Land Contamination

 

In particular, the premises that had been used for any of the following operations could have land contamination issues:

• Oil installations, e.g. oil depots, petrol filling stations
• Gas works
• Power plants
• Chemical manufacturing / processing plants
• Metal workshops
• Car repairing/dismantling workshops
• Shipyards/boatyards


3.2 Start Your Business

Common Legislative Requirements at a Glance


Application for Environmental Licences/Permits
If your business is classified as Designated Projects(including decommissioning of certain works)


Go To You are required to go through the statutory EIA process & obtain an Environmental Permit prior to works commencement
If your business is classified as a Specified Process


Go To You are required to obtain a Specified Process Licence prior to the operation
If your business involves installation of or alteration to furnaces, ovens and chimneys

Go To You are required to obtain a Certificate of Approval in advance
If your business discharges wastewater (except domestics sewage discharged into communual sewers and unpolluted water)

Go To You are required to obtain an Effluent Discharge Licence
If your business generates Part A/ Part B chemical waste

Go To You are required to register as Chemical Waste Producer
If your business requires construction of related facilities

Go To


You are required to ensure your appointed construction/ renovation contractors have obtained the Effluent Discharge Licence, Construction Noise Permit and the chemical/ solid waste disposal requirements are fulfilled where appropriate

 

If your business imports, exports, manufactures or uses the scheduled chemicals

Go To You are required to obtain an activity-based permit

 

Taking into Account of Environmental Costs
If your business produces wastewater that is connected to public sewers

Go To You are required to pay the Sewage Charge
If your business produces trade effluent with a strength higher than that of domestic sewage


Go To You are required to pay the Trade Effluent Surcharge
If your business disposes of chemical waste at the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre

Go To You are required to pay the charges for disposal of chemical waste
If your business disposes of construction and demolition waste during construction of the related facilities

Go To You are required to pay the charges for disposal of construction and demolition waste

 

What should I Consider when I Start My Business?

 

The major focus of this phase is to plan and design the operations and, if necessary, construct related facilities in accordance with the relevant legal and other requirements with a view to protecting the environment. A comprehensive way of doing this is to perform an assessment of the potential environmental impacts that will arise from your future operation and hence devising the proper pollution prevention and control measures to avoid or reduce the adverse impacts.

To begin with, it is necessary to determine if your planned business belongs to any of the Designated Projects as defined under the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance [4,5]. There are altogether 17 categories of Designated Projects covering most infrastructure projects, public utilities, large-scale industrial activities, waste disposal facilities, etc. (see Appendix B). If your planned operation happens to be a Designated Project, then you must follow the statutory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process in order to obtain an Environmental Permit before you can proceed to construct the facilities or to start your operation.

Flowchart Illustrating Major Steps of the Statutory EIA Process

 

Designated Project
Prepare & Submit Project Profile to EPD
Public Inspection of Project Profile
Apply for Environmental Permit Directly from EPD
Go To:
Apply for EIA Study Brief
Prepare & Submit EIA Report to EPD
Review of EIA Report by EPD
Public Consulation of the EIA Report
Approve EIA Report by EPD
Approved EIA Report

Go To:
Issue Environmental Permit by EPD

 

Even if your business does not belong to any of the Designated Projects, it makes good business sense to incorporate at the outset environmental protection consideration in your business operations, and if necessary, construct related facilities with due consideration of the relevant environmental legislative requirements and good environment practices, which should cover the following key areas:

• Air pollution
• Noise
• Water resources and pollution
• Waste management
• Energy use
• Material storage

 

Air Pollution

 

Under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance [6], there are two major regulations providing licensing controls on air pollutant emissions:

 

graphicInstallation and Alteration of Furnaces, Ovens and Chimneys
Before undertaking to install or make alterations to a furnace, oven, chimney or flue on your premises, you must seek prior approval from EPD. [7]

 

graphicSpecified Processes
If you carry out any of the processes listed under Specified Processes (see Appendix C), you have to comply with the following requirements:

Obtain a licence from EPD before you can operate your process.
Comply with the licence conditions and use the Best Practicable Means for preventing the emission of noxious or offensive emissions.

 

It is important to plan in advance the approach to fulfilling the legislative requirements, and adopting cost-effective and best available technology for air pollution control and allowing sufficient space for installing appropriate pollution control equipment.

 

graphicSmart Tips
Even though your operation is not under the aforementioned licensing control, you should examine whether appropriate air pollution control system is needed during the planning stage in order to minimize potential nuisance and hence environmental complaints in future operation, e.g. air pollution control equipment is usually required for paint spraying process though it is not classified as a Specified Processes.

 

You should also consider the following in planning and designing your facilities:

• location and positioning of fresh air intake and exhaust outlets
• temporary storage of solid waste to minimize dust or odour nuisance

 

graphicDo:

Direct your exhaust outlets to open areas for effective dispersion
Position your fresh air intake in an open environment to avoid nearby air pollutant sources as far as practicable
Provide shelter/cover for your solid waste storage to minimize air nuisance

 

graphicDon't:

Exhaust outlets close to nearby residential buildings or other neighbouring premises
Exhaust outlets close to street level
Fresh air intake close to exhausts from your own premises or other premises
Solid waste storage at public places without any cover or shelter

 

 

Exhaust outlet close to nearby buildings should be avoided

Exhaust Outlet Close to Nearby Buildings Should be Avoided

 

During construction of related facilities of your business, air nuisance arising from activities such as site excavation, renovation, handling and storage of construction materials and vehicle movements of construction activities is controlled under the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation. Your appointed construction / renovation contractor must notify EPD before carrying out Notifiable Works and follow the legislative dust control measures. More details are presented in Section 4.3.

 

graphicLegislative Control on the Use of Asbestos
If use of asbestos is required in your future operation, you should note that some asbestos e.g. amosite and crocidolite are banned from importing and sale in Hong Kong.

 

graphicRequirements Related to Use of Fuel

Under the Air Pollution Control (Fuel Restriction) Regulation, fuels used by commercial and industrial appliances must comply with the following requirements:

In the Shatin Fuel Restriction Area (see Section 3.1), only gaseous fuel is permitted except for appliances used in construction sites or for emergency purposes.

 

Location of the Shatin Fuel Restriction Area

 

In all other areas, permitted fuels are: (a) gaseous fuels; (b) conventional solid fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 1% by weight; and (c) liquid fuel with a sulphur content not exceeding 0.005% by weight and a viscosity of not more than 6 centistokes at 40℃, such as Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel ("ULSD")

According to the Regulation [64], all diesel powered equipment must use ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) from 1 October 2008 onwards. For details, please refer to the web link:
  www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/guide_ref/
guide_fuel_restriction.html

 

graphicOzone Layer Protection
Under the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance, the Hong Kong SAR Government has been implementing a phase-out programme for ozone depleting substances, which are commonly used in various operations, e.g. refrigerants in air-conditioning systems, fire-fighting installation, blowing agents for foam manufacturing, electronics cleaning agent, etc. As a result, the following should be noted (or see the guidebooks [6,7,8,9,10] for more details):

You should consider using non-ozone depleting substances for your operations, where appropriate.
If "controlled" refrigerants are used in your operations of facilities, you should use approved equipment for recovering and recycling during maintenance.
If you need to import or export any "scheduled" ozone depleting substances, registration with the Trade and industry Department and application for an import or export licence are required.

 

If you are an importer, you should note that products including air conditioners and fire extinguishers containing ozone depleting substances are being phased out starting from 1 Jan 2010.

 

For the list of scheduled ozone depleting substances, please refer to web link:

www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/application_for_licences/guidance/wn6_licen1_1.html

For the phase-out schedule of products containing ozone depleting substances, please refer to the web link:

www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/ozone_layer_protection/wn6_info.html

 

graphicAir Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation [63]

You are subject to control under the Regulation if you are:

(a)
an importer introducing any of the regulated products for sale or use in Hong Kong;
(b)
a manufacturer in Hong Kong manufacturing any of the regulated products for sale or use in Hong Kong; or
(c)
an owner of a lithographic heatset web printing machine in Hong Kong.

 

For the control equipments, please refer to the web link:

www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/prob_solutions/voc_reg.html#point_3

 

Consumer products containing volatile organic compounds

Consumer Products
Containing Volatile
Organic Compounds


graphicWhat are the regulated products under the Regulation?
Regulated products under Stage I include: (effective in phases from 1 April 2007 to 1 January 2011)

• 51 types of architectural paints/coatings
• 7 types of printing inks
• 6 broad categories of consumer products (i.e. hairsprays, air fresheners, multi-purpose lubricants, floor wax strippers, insecticides and insect repellent)

Regulated products under Stage II include: (effective in phases from 1 January 2010 to 1 April 2012)

• 14 types of vehicle refinishing paints / coating
• 36 types of vessel paints / coatings and pleasure craft paints / coatings
• 47 types of adhesives and seal

 

Noise

 

To avoid or minimize generation of excessive noise in your future operation, you should consider the following in planning and designing your facilities [11]:

• layout of the facilities to screen off or isolate any noisy
equipment or operations
• selection of less noisy equipment or operations
• installation of appropriate noise reduction equipment/
measure for noisy equipment or operations [12,13,14]

Noise barrier installed to reduce potential nuisance to neighbouring areas
Noise Barrier Installed to Reduce Potential Nuisance to Neighbouring Areas

 

During construction of related facilities of your business, your appointed construction/ renovation contractor must apply for a Construction Noise Permit prior to undertaking specific works during the restricted hours (see Section 4.3 for more details).

 

graphicSmart Tips
Primary consideration in noise reduction is to control at source.
It is important and effective to select quiet construction methods and machinery.

 

 

Water Resources

In addition to water charges, companies that discharge wastewater are also required to pay the Sewage Charge and/or Trade Effluent Surcharge according to the Sewage Services Ordinance.

The Sewage Charge is levied on all water account holders whose premises are connected to a public sewerage and applies to all businesses. The charge in Year 2012 is HK$1.87 per cubic meter of water used. It is then gradually increased by 9.3% per year until HK$2.92 per cubic metre of water supplied. 27 trades and industries (see Appendix D) that produce trade effluents with a strength higher than that of domestic sewage are required to pay the Trade Effluent Surcharge in addition to the Sewage Charge.

 

graphicSmart Tips
It is wise to plan for water conservation through design and use of appropriate water-saving equipment and/or processes. This will not only cut down your water bills but also reduce your Sewage Charge and/or Trade Effluent Surcharge.

 

graphicSewage Charges Calculation
For a number of specific trades, businesses or manufacturers (see Appendix D), the Sewage Charge is calculated based on portion of the volume of water used, other than water supplied specifically for flushing purposes.

 

graphicWhat is “unpolluted water”?
It generally means:
– Rain water from any part of a building;
– Water which does not contain any poisonous, noxious or polluting matters.

 

Water Pollution

 

All discharges, except discharge of domestic sewage into communal sewers and unpolluted water, are subject to a licensing control system according to the Water Pollution Control Ordinance [15]. These discharges include all types of industrial manufacturing, commercial, institutional and construction activities and discharge from sewage treatment facilities.

For any discharges subject to control, the discharger should apply for a licence from EPD and comply with its terms and conditions [16]. It is wise to plan in advance to make provisions for wastewater treatment facilities when necessary, e.g. allowing sufficient space for installation of wastewater treatment facilities, design of proper drainage, etc.

 

graphicIf wastewater treatment facility is required, submission of the relevant design information and drawings to EPD for approval prior to installation is required.

 

graphicHow to apply for an effluent discharge licence?
You must submit an application form to EPD [15]. If you wish to change any of the conditions of the licence, you must apply to EPD for approval.

 

graphicWhere should you connect your sewers?
Under the Water Pollution Control (Sewerage) Regulation, EPD may serve a notice on the owner of the premises, (located within unsewered areas) requiring connection to public sewers when they are available in the vincity.

 

graphicDid you know?
Terms and conditions of the effluent discharge licence may include:

• discharge location
• provision of wastewater treatment facilities
• maximum allowable discharge quantity
• effluent discharge standards
• self-monitoring requirements
• record keeping requirements

 

Waste Management

 

You are advised to design proper solid waste storage facilities to suit your future operational needs. The key considerations include:

 

• Sufficient space should be designated for solid waste handling and storage.
• The designated waste storage area should be located away from public places and provided
with shelter/cover to avoid causing nuisance to your neighbours.
• If necessary, use of odour control measures should be considered.

 

Apart from solid waste, your future operation may also generate chemical waste, which refers to any substance being scrap material, effluent, an unwanted substance or byproduct or containing any substance specified in Schedule 1 of the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation.

The Schedule categorizes the substances into Part A and Part B:

 

Part A Chemical Waste: particularly hazardous chemicals, e.g. asbestos, antibiotics, pesticides, etc.
Part B Chemical Waste: majority of chemical waste, e.g. spent lube oil, acids, alkalis, organic solvents, etc.

 

If any chemical waste (Part A or Part B) is generated from your business operation, you must register as a Chemical Waste Producer with EPD and comply with the relevant requirements [17]. For more details, please refer to the web link:

www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/guide_ref/guide_cwc_list.html

 

If you need to construct the related facilities for your planned business, your appointed construction / renovation contractor should take note of the above solid waste storage consideration, and follow the chemical waste registration / notification requirements as well.

 

graphicHow to register as Chemical Waste Producer?
You must complete a registration form and submit to EPD [18]. If you wish to make subsequent changes, you must inform EPD. Upon receipt of all the necessary information, EPD will issue a registration document stating the waste that you are legally registered to produce. For details, please refer to the web link:

www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/guide_ref/guide_cwc.html

 

What should I do regarding packaging, labelling, storage and disposal of my chemical waste?

Chemical Waste Producers must arrange for proper packaging, labelling and storage of chemical waste (Part A and Part B) prior to disposal [19]. Considerations should therefore be given to make provision for proper chemical waste storage during planning and design phase.

First example of proper chemical waste storage facilities. Storage of incompatible wastes in different areas. Impermeable floor made of suitable material to withstand normal abrasion and chemical action of the stored chemical waste. Impervious wall/partition made of suitable material. Bund (max. 220mm height) to retain potential leakage of the capacity of the largest container or 20% of the storage capactity whichever is the greater.

For the first example of proper chemical waste storage facilities, details include:

  • Storage of incompatible wastes in different areas.
  • Impermeable floor made of suitable material to withstand normal abrasion and chemical action of the stored chemical waste.
  • Impervious wall/partition made of suitable material.
  • Bund (max. 220mm height) to retain potential leakage of the capacity of the largest container or 20% of the storage capactity whichever is the greater.

Second example of proper chemical waste storage facilities. Drip tray to contain leakage. Vent holes. Storage of incompatible waste in separate areas. Impermeable sill to contain leakage or spillage.

For the second example of proper chemical waste storage facilities, details include:

  • Drip tray to contain leakage.
  • Vent holes.
  • Storage of incompatible waste in separate areas.
  • Impermeable sill to contain leakage or spillage.

 

graphicSmart Tips

Charges are imposed for disposal of chemical waste at the Chemical Waste Treatment Centre (see www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/prob_solutions/
chemical_fees.html
) and construction waste at related Government facilities (see Section 4.3).
The Hong Kong SAR Government is considering imposing a charge for disposal of municipal solid waste. It makes good business sense to plan and design suitable waste reduction measures, e.g. providing enough space and facilities for segregation of waste for recycling.


graphicWhat you must know:
If your chemical waste is classified as dangerous goods (DG), you need to obtain a licence from the Fire Services Department for storing such waste.


Energy Use


It is wise to consider energy use in planning your business and premises because good energy efficiency always leads to financial savings. You may consider the followings:

 

1. Adopt good practices in energy use during design and planning phase
2. Install window fins for shading in order to reduce heat gain from direct sunlight in order to cut air-conditioning costs
3. Divide the premises into different lighting/air-conditioning zones so that lighting/air-conditioning can be controlled separately in individual zones to suit different needs
4. Design lighting/air-conditioning systems to achieve optimal lighting/comfort level (e.g. avoid excessive lighting or over-sizing of air-conditioning system)
5. Install energy-saving lightings, e.g. T-5 fluorescent tubes, electronic ballast, etc.
6. Set the air-conditioning temperature at 25.5℃ to save energy
7. Use water-cooled air-conditioning system which can reduce up to 30% of electricity consumption comparing with air-cooled system

 

Material Storage

 

If your business involves manufacturing, storage and/or use of dangerous goods (DG), you need to obtain relevant licences before commencing the operations in accordance with the Dangerous Goods Ordinance (except that the quantity of dangerous goods is below the exempted quantity as specified in the Ordinance). It is therefore important to plan in advance to make provisions for the appropriate facilities (e.g. DG store) in compliance with the licence requirements.

 

DG includes all explosives, compressed gases, petroleum and other substances giving off inflammable vapours, substances giving off poisonous gas or vapour, corrosive substances, substances which become dangerous by interaction with water or air, substances liable to spontaneous combustion or of a readily combustible nature. Examples include diesel, strong acid, strong alkali, etc. There are altogether 10 DG Categories [20] as defined in the Ordinance.

 

graphicWhat you must know:

Storing over 2,500 litres of diesel requires a DG storage licence.
If you use container larger than 450 litres for storing chemical waste, prior EPD’s approval is required.

graphicLicensing Authorities of DG
DG Category Licensing Authority
Category 1 (i.e. explosives and blasting agents) Commissioner of Mines,
Civil Engineering and Development Department
Category 2 to 10 excluding liquefied petroleum gas Fire Services Department

graphicSmart Tips

If your chemical waste is classified as DG, e.g. spent strong acid, you must comply with the legal requirements for both chemical waste and DG.
Even for chemicals such as cleaning products, pesticides and herbicides which are not classified as DG but can be potentially harmful to the environment, proper facilities should be provided for their storage and handling in order to avoid leakage and spillage.
Emergency response procedures and spill kits should be in place to deal with any accidental leakage or spillage of DG or hazardous chemicals.
Relevant personnel should be trained to handle chemical leakage / spillage.

 


Hazardous Chemicals

 

Activities involving import, export, manufacture or use of certain non-pesticide hazardous chemicals require an activity-based permit issued under the Hazardous Chemicals Control Ordinance (HCCO). Currently, the following hazardous chemicals (scheduled chemicals), which are covered in the Stockholm Convention and Rotterdam Convention, are subject to the control of this Ordinance:


Type 1 Chemicals
• Hexachlorobenzene (HCB)
• Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)

 

Type 2 Chemicals
Asbestos
• Actinolite
• Anthophyllite
• Amosite
• Crocidolite
• Tremolite
Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
• Hexabromobiphenyl
• Octabromobiphenyl
• Decabromobiphenyl
Polychlorinated terphenyls (PCT)
Tetraethyl lead
Tetramethyl lead
Tris(2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate

Manufactured products using these chemicals except PCB are exempt from control. Hence, PCB containing equipments (e.g. transformer, capacitors) is regulated. Import / export of these chemicals also requires a consignment-based import / export lisence issued under the Import and Export Ordinance.


graphicDid You Know?
Tetraethyl lead and tetramethyl lead are Cat. 4 DG and their storage requires a licence issued under the Dangerous Goods Ordinance. Import of amosite and crocidolite is banned under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance unless authorized by the EPD.


graphicSmart Tips

Each HCCO permit generally lasts for 12 months. Applicants will need to demonstrate a genuine need to involve the scheduled chemicals in their activities. Their import and export are banned / restricted and subject to the prior consent of the importing and exporting countries. As the scheduled chemicals are being phased out internationally, activities involving them should be avoided or minimized.

 

Foreseeable Legislative Requirements


New legislative requirements on the following areas are proposed or planned. Updated information on the enactment schedule and detailed requirements can be obtained from EPD’s Webpage or Compliance Assistance Centre.

Charges for Disposal of Municipal Solid Waste: In addition to the existing charging schemes for disposal of construction waste and chemical waste, the Hong Kong SAR Government is considering to impose a charge for disposal of municipal solid waste.

www.epd.gov.hk/epd/msw/htm_en/ch05/main.htm#setting


New Producer Responsibility Scheme for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE): An environmental levy will be introduced for WEEE which is identified as a target for a mandatory producer responsibility scheme. The requirements on how to provide proper treatment for WEEE, how to manage its flow and how to share the cost of the scheme will be specified.
Introduction:

http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201503/12/P201503120327.htm

Consultation Document:

www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/resources_pub/policy/files/weee_consultation_eng.pdf


Extend the Ban in Import and Sale of Asbestos: To extend the Ban in Import and Sale of Brown and Blue Asbestos to All Other Forms of Asbestos Including White Asbestos and to Ban Supply and New Use of All Forms of Asbestos.

www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/pub_consult/files/ConAbs-eng.pdf


A Quick Summary


Prevention is always better than cure. Taking environmental considerations into your early business planning process is able to help you both ensure legal compliance and bring financial saving on subsequent costs for pollution control and resources consumption. It helps build up corporate image as an environmentally friendly company.

A checklist is presented in Appendix E, summarizing relevant legislative requirements and other environmental considerations that you should consider during the phases when you Plan and Start Your Business. Moreover, a table summarizing the time frame required for application of the relevant environmental licences is also given in Appendix F for easy reference.


3.3 Manage your Business

Common Legislative Requirements at a Glance


Compliance with Environmetal Licences/Permits
If your business is classified as Designated Project (including decommissioning of certain works) and hold an Environmental Permit

Go To You are required to comply with the terms and conditions of the Environmental Permit
If your business is classified as a Specified Process and hold a Specified Process Licence

Go To You are required to comply with the terms and conditions of the Specified Process Licence
If your business discharges wastewater (except domestic sewage discharged into communal sewer and unpolluted water) and hold an Effluent Discharge Licence
Go To You are required to comply with the terms and conditions of the Effluent Discharge Licence
If your business generates Part A chemical waste and is registered as a chemical waste producer
Go To
You are required to implement appropriate practice on packaging, labelling and storage of the chemical waste, notify EPD prior to disposal of the waste, and then engage a licensed collector to collect for disposal
If your business generates Part B chemical waste and is registered as a chemical waste producer
Go To
You are required to implement appropriate practice on packaging, labelling and storage of the chemical waste, notify EPD prior to disposal of the waste, and then engage a licensed collector to collect for disposal
If your business will conduct an activity (import, export, manufacture or use) involving a scheduled chemical in the coming 12 months
Go To
You are required to apply for an activity-based permit from the EPD according to needs, and, for import / export of the scheduled chemical, to apply for a consignment-based licence under the import and Export Ordinance from the EPD for every shipment of the scheduled chemical(s) if appropriate

What should I Consider when I Manage My Business?


The types and extent of environmental nuisances generated from business operations depend on the nature and scale of your work. This section outlines the generic environmental requirements. You are advised to identify the legislation relevant to your business operations so as to comply with the environmental requirements in a cost-effective way.


graphicDo:

Obtain all relevant approvals / permits / licences.
Take prompt actions to abate environmental nuisance.
Check if the environmental facilities are constructed and arranged properly.
Liaise closely with the contractors (including construction and renovation) to make sure all measures are taken to minimize environmental nuisance.
Make sure all the staff understand and implement the planned environmental measures.
Plan for emergency procedures to cater for accidents e.g. leakage and spillage of hazardous substances, and perform drills regularly.

Air Pollution

If you have obtained the Specified Process licence for your operation or the approval for installing furnaces, ovens, chimneys or flue during the planning and design phase (see Section 3.2), you must ensure compliance with the legal requirements as specified in the licence/approval document throughout the operation phase.


In case your operation causes air nuisance to your neighbouring environment, EPD may issue an Air Pollution Abatement Notice (APAN)[21] to require you to either stop the operation that causes the nuisance or take measures to abate the nuisance within specified time frame. Failure to comply with the abatement notice is liable to prosecution by EPD.

There are also a number of subsidiary regulations, which you may need to take note of during your operation.


graphicDark Smoke Requirements
Under the Air Pollution Control (Smoke) Regulations, dark smoke emissions from any chimney or relevant plant must not exceed:

• 6 minutes in any period of 4 hours; or
• 3 minutes continuously at any one time. [22]


graphicDust and Grit Requirements
Under the Air Pollution Control (Dust and Grit Emission) Regulations, you must provide a dust and / or grit emission sampling point according to EPD’s specifications, if requested. [23]


graphicOpen Burning Requirements
Under the Air Pollution Control (Open Burning) Regulation, you need to apply for a permit if you intend to burn any materials in open areas. However, burning of construction waste, tyres, cables and metal salvage is prohibited. [24]


Noise

If noise emitted from your operation is found to be not in compliance with the Acceptable Noise Levels [25] or is found to be a source of annoyance, EPD may issue a Noise Abatement Notice (NAN) to require you to abate the noise that exceeds the noise limits or causes the annoyance within a specified time frame. Failure to comply with the abatement notice is liable to prosecution by EPD.


graphicSmart Tips
• Not to carry out noisy operations in open areas which could cause disturbance to nearby sensitive receivers.
• Check for abnormal noise (e.g. high frequency tonal noise due to failure or malfunction of certain components of a ventilation system) and conduct immediate repair / improvement.
• Conduct regular inspection and maintenance of equipment to avoid generation of unnecessary noise.
• Conduct regular inspection and maintenance of noise control facilities to ensure their effectiveness.


graphicDid you know?
The Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance, administered by the Labour Department, provides statutory control over occupational noise that may affect employees working in factories and other industrial undertakings.


Water Pollution


Throughout the operation phase, you are required to ensure compliance with the discharge standards and conditions as specified in the effluent discharge licence obtained during the planning and design phase (see Section 3.2). As such, EPD may require the licencee to undertake regular monitoring of the discharged effluent and submit the analysis results to EPD.

graphicDid you know?
EPD may pay unscheduled visits to your premises to take effluent samples for analysis in order to check if they comply with the discharge standards. Should the analysis results demonstrate any non-compliance, EPD may take actions to prosecute the licence holder or discharger.



graphicSmart Tips

Carefully control the water consumption, it not only saves your water bills and Sewage Charges, but also reduces wastewater generation and hence saves the in-house wastewater treatment costs, if any.
Differentiate storm drains from foul sewers.
Install appropriate screening systems to avoid solid waste from blocking the drains.
Appoint experienced contractors / your trained staff to take care of the wastewater treatment system, if any, as well as the wastewater drainage system.

Can I ask for a reduction of my Sewage Charge and Trade Effluent Surcharge?

Yes IF:
You can demonstrate that the volume of your discharge into public sewer system is not more than 85% of the volume of water used.
You conduct a re-assessment of the “pollution strength” of your effluent so as to reduce the Trade Effluent Surcharge.


The sample analysis work to support the above applications should normally be done by laboratories accredited under the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS). A list of such laboratories can be found at the webpage:

www.itc.gov.hk/en/quality/hkas/hoklas/directory/directory.htm


Further enquiries may be made to the office of Drainage Authority via the hotline 2834 9432 or on line:

http://www.dsd.gov.hk/EN/Sewage_Services_Charging_Scheme/
Enquiry/index.html


Are there any requirements related to operation of ships?

If your business involves operation of ships or transport of oil, noxious liquid substances by ships, you are required to adopt preventive measures to prevent pollution from ships and minimize accidental discharge of harmful substances according to the Shipping and Port Control Ordinance, Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Ordinance and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).


Waste Management

Solid waste produced in the course of operation must be properly handled, stored and disposed. Similarly, if you have registered with EPD as a Chemical Waste Producer, you need to ensure proper packaging, labelling, storage and disposal of the generated chemical waste (Part A and Part B).

EPD has imposed the trip-ticket system to control chemical waste from its source of generation to its final disposal point. All chemical waste should be collected by licensed waste collectors for disposal at the licensed waste disposal facilities.

For disposal of Part A chemical waste, you must make prior notification to EPD in accordance with the Waste Disposal Ordinance [17].

graphicWho are the waste collectors?


It is recommended to implement a waste management plan and to establish segregation system to separate recyclable waste materials such as paper, metals and plastic materials for recycling. The Government’s Policy Framework for the Management of Municipal Solid Waste (2005-2014) provides suggestions on how different sectors can incorporate various waste reduction measures into their everyday life or business practices. The Hong Kong SAR Government is considering to impose a charging scheme for disposal of municipal solid waste [26], which includes domestic, commercial and industrial waste.


graphicSmart Tips
Cutting the amount of waste your business produces, recycling your waste materials and reducing your use of raw materials are all good for the environment and can also save your operation costs.


Hazardous Chemicals

If you have already obtained a permit issued under the Hazardous Chemicals Control Ordinance for your activity involving the scheduled chemical(s), you must ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the permits and, if you want to change the essential part of your permitted activity during the permit period, you should apply for variation of the or apply for a new one. Also, under the permit you will be required to report the details of your activity in a specified form to the EPD regularly and it is important that you keep the relevant record. Failure to meet the permit terms and conditions is liable to suspension or cancellation of the permit or prosecution.
Sample application form for Import / Export Licence for scheduled chemicals under the Import and Export Ordinance


3.4 Withdraw Your Business

What should I Consider when I Withdraw My Business?


If demolition of facilities is involved during the de-commissioning work, you should ensure your appointed contractor follows the relevant environmental requirements during the demolition work, which are very similar to those highlighted for the construction work in Section 3.2. Prior to demolition of any buildings or electrical and mechanical facilities, any hazardous materials must be identified and properly dealt with [2]. In particular, hazardous materials containing asbestos [27] or polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) [28] must be handled and disposed of in accordance with the corresponding Codes of Practice. The following is required for demolition work involving asbestos containing material [6]:

• Employ a registered consultant to conduct an investigation
• Submit an investigation report
• Submit an asbestos abatement plan
• Employ a registered asbestos contractor to carry out asbestos abatement work which is supervised by a registered consultant
• Register with EPD as a Chemical Waste Producer prior to disposal of asbestos waste


graphicAsbestos and Polychlorinated Biphenyl Waste
Asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) waste is classified as Part A chemical wastes. Various aspects (e.g. handling and disposing the wastes) are subject to control under a number of ordinances/regulations including the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation, Air Pollution Control Ordinance and Factories and Industrial Undertakings (Asbestos) Regulation.


In case your operation has caused contamination to the land or damages to the building, you are advised to take remedial actions to clean up the contamination or restore the damaged facilities of the building before moving out.

Decommissioning of certain works is classified as Designated Projects in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance and is subject to the statutory environmental impact assessment process (see Section 3.2). See Appendix B for the List of Designated Projects.

Further Reading

[1] Hong Kong Planning Standard and Guidelines
[2] Guidance Notes for Contaminated Land Assessment and Remediation
[3] Guidance Notes for Investigation and Remediation of Contaminated Sites of Petrol Filling Stations, Boatyards, and Car Repair/Dismantling Workshops
[4] Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact Assessment Process
[5] A Guide to Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance
[6] A Concise Guide to the Air Pollution Control Ordinance
[7] A Guide to the Air Pollution Control (Furnace, Ovens and Chimneys)(Installation and Alteration) Regulations
[8] A Concise Guide to the Ozone Layer Protection (Controlled Refrigerants) Regulation
[9] Air-Conditioning Refrigerants - A Time for Change (ProPECC PN 4/94)
[10] A Concise Guide to the Ozone Layer Protection Ordinance
[11] A Concise Guide to the Noise Control Ordinance
[12] Good Practices on Pumping System Noise Control
[13] Good Practices on Ventilation System Noise Control
[14] Noise Annoyance Prevention - Design of Pump Room and Ventilation System(PNAP 228)
[15] A Guide to the Water Pollution Control Ordinance
[16] Technical Memorandum – Standards for Effluents Discharged into Drainage and Sewerage Systems, Inland and Coastal Waters
[17] A Guide to the Chemical Waste Control Scheme
[18] A Guide to the Registration of Chemical Waste Producers
[19] Code of Practice on the Packaging, Labelling and Storage of Chemical Wastes
[20] Fire Protection Notice No. 4 Dangerous Goods General
[21] Technical Memorandum for Issuing Air Pollution Abatement Notices to Control Air Pollution from Stationery Polluting Processes
[22] An Introduction to the Air Pollution Control (Smoke) Regulations
[23] Cut Down Construction Dust
[24] A Guide to the Air Pollution Control (Open Burning) Regulation
[25] Technical Memorandum for the Assessment of Noise from Places other than Domestic Premises, Public Places or Construction Sites
[26] Policy Framework for the Management of Municipal Solid Waste (2005 – 2014)
[27] Code of Practice on the Handling, Transportation and Disposal Asbestos Waste
[28] Code of Practice on the Handling, Transportation an Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Waste
[63] A Guide to the Air Pollution Control (Volatile Organic Compounds) Regulation
[64] A Guide to Air Pollution Control (Fuel Restriction) Regulation and its Amendment of 2008
[67] Guidiance Note for Recovery and Minimizing the Release of HCFCs Refrigerant


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