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Sunday, Feb 05, 2023

Grumbling after tender for rubbish bags binned

Environment authorities were under-prepared and unaware of the production costs before tendering plastic bag manufacturers for solid waste levy, a green group said.
The Environmental Protection Department had called off the tender after receiving 26 applications, all of which were either not qualified or had proposed a higher cost than authorities had expected.

Speaking on radio yesterday, founder and executive director of The Green Earth Edwin Lau Che-feng said that there was lack of communication during the tender.

"The government should have communicated with plastic bag manufacturers before issuing the bidding documents to brief them on their requirement as well as having a better understanding of the range of the budget," he said.

Lau criticized the government for failing to prepare for the tender, which could slow down the SAR's waste reduction project.

He urged the authorities to enhance communication with manufacturers and provide land support.

He said that he was concerned whether the government could implement the policy next year as scheduled, adding that its decision to call off the tender would undermine the public's confidence.

The Legislative Council passed the waste-charging scheme in August last year and the government aims to launch the scheme by the end of next year.

Under the new scheme, residents will need to pay a levy of 11 HK cents per liter by using a government-designated rubbish bag.

A household of three people is likely to pay HK$33 to HK$51 per month.

However, some manufacturers said the tender was recently canceled and the authorities will relaunch the tender within two months by downgrading certain requirements.

A manufacturer who had joined the tender criticized authorities for wasting time and energy.

To join the tender, they were required to keep their proposals innovative and environmentally friendly, but subsequently they were rejected due to high costs.

"If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys," the manufacturer said.

According to a 792-page tender instruction given to manufacturers, the details and requirements for production line and materials were clearly listed.

Manufacturers were required to run a designated factory site that only produces the designated waste disposal bags and nothing else. However, the authorities did not provide factory sites, and if the manufacturers wish to relocate, they had to seek approval.

In response, the Environmental Protection Department said it received 26 applications in August this year, but called off the tender to "make prudent use of public resources."
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