Waste separation in high-rise in other countries

Hong Kong

According to information on the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department website, waste separation bins have been placed in housing estates and residential blocks since 1998.

The three coloured bins for paper, aluminium cans and plastic bottles are usually placed on the ground floor of buildings or designated common areas of housing estates.

A trial was launched in the island’s eastern district in August 2004 to collect recyclable waste on each floor of buildings and expand the types of recyclables collected.

It was a big success and spurred the government to expand it territory-wide in early 2005.

Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department told StarMetro, “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region encourages our citizens to practise source separation of waste and clean recycling voluntarily by various means.

“A territory-wide ‘Programme on Source Separation of Waste’ (SSW Programme) has been launched since 2005.

“As a result, over 80% of the Hong Kong population can participate in clean recycling using the waste separation facilities close to their homes or workplaces.

“Moreover, to further reduce generation of waste, we are planning to implement Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Charging soon.

“In order to give the community an early start in experiencing the waste charging process and conducting the necessary preparatory work as soon as practicable, we have recently launched the Community Involvement Projects for the MSW Charging.”


According to Singapore’s National Environment Agency, condominiums and private apartments are managed by their respective management corporations (MCs) and managing agents (MAs) who are empowered to decide whether to set up receptacles for recycling within the estates for residents.

Under the island republic’s Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act and Regulation, it is mandatory to separate and prepare recyclable materials or waste intended for recycling.

Under Section 10 (1)(c) of its Environment Public Health Act (EPHA, Cap 95), when required in writing, it is mandatory for all condominiums and private apartments to have receptacles (trash containers) within the estate for the collection of recyclables like paper, plastic, metal and glass products for recycling.

South Korea

According to Seoul Solution, which collects representative policies implemented by the Seoul metropolitan government, recycling was first implemented in apartment complexes in 1990 and gradually spread to detached houses and commercial arcades.

Later, fees for waste were charged according to volume.

From 2005, all food waste was to be disposed of separately for recycling. Items collected for recycling include paper, glass, metal, plastic, electronics and waste oil.

In 2012, the recycling rate was 65.3%.

Joe Kim, an apartment dweller in Jeju Island, said, “We have an area where we throw away our sorted trash called a clean house and a separate area to toss the combustible trash, cardboard/paper, plastics and metals.

“There is a separate area too for food waste.

“The area is monitored by CCTV to ensure residents follow the rules.

“To dispose of large items like appliances or furniture, we have to purchase a sticker from the district management office,” he said.


According to online sources, waste separation varies from region to region, depending on the local government.

But in general, apartment dwellers dispose of garbage in large communal bins.

Waste separation is intricate and each type of trash has a different pick-up day.

Generally there are five garbage types that will need to be separated, namely combustibles (food waste), non-combustibles (plastic wrappers and polystyrene), recyclables (newspaper, plastic/glass bottles, metal cans), PET bottles and large items.

In some areas, there are more categories.


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