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Wednesday, Mar 22, 2023

Converting yard waste into resources

The yard waste recycling center Y·PARK is leading the way in promoting the recycling of suitable yard waste that can be transformed into useful wooden products, stunning works of art as well as the cultivation of Lingzhi mushrooms.
The recycling facility at Tsang Tsui of Tuen Mun mainly receives tree trunks within six meters long and the bole’s attached tree branches, twigs and leaves. It is equipped with various installations, including wood shredders that can convert suitable yard waste into numerous practical items like wooden boards and beams for different recycling purposes.

Dickson Yan, a wood artist from Hong Kong, transforms yard waste handled by Y·PARK into unique wooden products and art pieces with skilful craftsmanship and creativity.

“I have been a wood artist since five years ago. Everything started with Super Typhoon Mangkhut when we had a lot of fallen trees everywhere. So I brought some of the nicest type of wood home and then started to play around with it. Of course, I learnt some things from YouTube and some of my friends believe that my artwork is pretty good, so I just kept working on it.

“Our wood artists' creations are not just about making furniture. It depends on the size of the wood. They can be shaped into trophies or decorations. There are all kinds of possibilities,” he explained.

By recycling yard waste, he hopes he can play a part in promoting the importance of environmental protection.

As a prime example of its commitment to recycling, the Environmental Protection Department has successfully collaborated with a local Lingzhi mushroom farm to use wood chips from Y·PARK to cultivate the fungus, which is then manufactured into different products.

Lingzhi mushroom farm founder Timothy Cheung described the arrangement of receiving about 20 tonnes of wood chips from the yard waste recycling center every month as a green-worthy strategy.

“We will then pack them into small bags. After these bags are sterilized completely, we will start to cultivate Lingzhi mushrooms.

“In my view, if the general public does not actively use the recycled yard material, it will be disposed of in landfills which eventually causes waste.”

Since the commencement of operation in June 2021, Y·PARK has processed more than 15,000 tonnes of yard waste, a daily average of about 30 tonnes.

Most yard waste comes from clearance works in routine vegetation maintenance and public works projects.

Environmental Protection Department Senior Environmental Protection Officer Keith Lai pointed out that wood chips are the largest amount of recyclable material the department produces and the bonus is, it can be used for agricultural and gardening purposes.

“For the successful operation of our recycling facility, we need to secure good quality sources of yard waste and also secure outlets for our yard waste products.

“We play a proactive role in staying in contact with government departments, developers, landscape contractors and organic farmers to encourage them to use more wood chips,” he added.

To further source outlets for wood chips, the department is developing a pilot plant that can convert yard waste into biochar, a charcoal produced from plant matter.

There are various applications of biochar, such as soil conditioners, adsorption materials for filtering pollutants, composting enhancers and building material additives.

With a resource center, an upcycling products showroom and a wood workshop, Y·PARK organizes guided tours for the public to gain more knowledge about the utilization of wood.

People can also gain hands-on experience with turning wood waste into useful products.

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