Enhanced Waste Plastics Import and Export Control in Hong Kong
Enhanced Waste Plastics Import and Export Control in Hong Kong

Following Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendments which took effect on 1 January 2021, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) issued letters to related stakeholders in October 2020 and May 2021 introducing the implementation of enhanced import and export control of waste plastics in Hong Kong. For those who have not received the information before, this letter served as a reminder to you as traders / local recyclers / stakeholders engaged in import and export of waste plastics to observe and follow related regulatory and declaration requirements. You may also refer to the “Guidelines on Import and Export Control of Waste Plastics” via the link:
https://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/guide_ref/guide_wiec_tcs6.html

In Hong Kong, import, export and re-export of waste plastics are subject to control under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO, Cap. 354). Any person who imports, exports or re-exports “regulated waste plastics” (photos of examples given in Annex 1) into, from or via Hong Kong must apply for the relevant waste import / export permit or obtain consent from the concerned authorities in advance. All waste plastics are regarded as “regulated waste plastics” except for the single-type and uncontaminated waste plastics listed in entry B3011 under the Basel Convention (in Annex 2) that are destined for recycling in an environmentally sound manner.

As for importing, exporting or re-exporting “non-regulated waste plastics” (photos of examples given in Annex 3) into, from or via Hong Kong, a declaration form and relevant documents should be submitted to the EPD in advance. This is to prove that the planned transboundary shipment does not fall into the category and requirements of the aforementioned “regulated waste plastics”. In preparing the declaration, please pay attention to the following:

Import

The imported “non-regulated waste plastics” should be uncontaminated (see Note) and imported for the purpose of a reprocessing, recycling or recovery operation in an environmentally sound manner, or the reuse of the waste. Please DO NOT import any waste plastics into Hong Kong for storage, disposal or further export to other places as such action violates the WDO. The shipments under such arrangement will be repatriated to the place of export and offenders will be prosecuted where sufficient evidence exists.

Export

The “non-regulated waste plastics” to be exported should be uncontaminated (see Note), arised locally in Hong Kong and exported for the purpose of a reprocessing, recycling or recovery operation in an environmentally sound manner, or the reuse of the waste. Locally arising waste plastics should be recycled in Hong Kong as far as possible and consider overseas outlet ONLY if relevant recycling technology, equipment, or capacity is not available in Hong Kong. Relevant import permit or consent from the place of import covering the intended export of waste plastics should also be obtained.

Re-export

If you intend to import “non-regulated waste plastics” for re-export via Hong Kong, please ensure all re-export shipments shall be covered by a through bill of lading or equivalent document covering both places of export and import by one single document. The waste plastics should NOT be sorted, transferred to another container or consolidated with other containers in Hong Kong under any circumstances to ensure that no waste plastics will be stranded or disposed of in Hong Kong.

Please submit the declaration documents at least 10 working days before each waste plastics shipment leaves the place of export to reserve adequate time for relevant competent authorities to consider and process your declarations.

In collaboration with the Customs and Excise Department, the EPD will continue to inspect import, export and re-export shipments. Anyone who commits an offence under the WDO will be prosecuted where sufficient evidence exists. Illegal waste plastic shipments intercepted will be repatriated to the place of origin. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of HK$200,000 and 6 months’ imprisonment for the first offence; and a fine of HK$500,000 and 2 years’ imprisonment for subsequent offences.

If your business involves import, export and re-export of “non-regulated waste plastics”, please duly follow the abovementioned requirements. Please also share such information with your business partners, including overseas shippers, consignees, forwarders and local plastic waste recyclers. Please note that we have set up an electronic platform: https://epdwasteiedeclarationcheck.hk (suggest viewing this website with Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome) to facilitate concerned parties to verify the reference number of declaration acknowledgement letter issued by the EPD in the past 4 months. For enquiries, please contact us at tel.: (852) 2835 2311 or by e-mail: wasteimportandexport@epd.gov.hk.

Environmental Protection