Green group demands probe into missing cartons mystery

Authorities must probe the loss of three tons of recycled beverage cartons at a public recycling center in Kwun Tong as the bizarre incident will discourage citizens from following the green habit, the head of an environmental group says.

Green@Kwun Tong collected three tons of recycled beverage cartons between April and December last year, and passed the cartons to waste management contractor Baguio Green Group to give them to Mil Mill, the city's only drinks carton recycler.

The Kwun Tong recycling station had passed the cartons to Mil Mill directly before April last year, the Environmental Protection Department said.

But since April last year, to reduce transportation costs, the recycling station had passed the scrap metal and waste papers to Baguio.

Baguio has said in a written confirmation that it can collect the cartons and will send them to Mil Mill without additional charges.

But Mil Mill said it had not received any cartons collected by the Kwun Tong recycling station since April last year.

Last week, Baguio said the Christian Family Service Centre, which runs Green@Kwun Tong, said it had passed the cartons to "local downstream recyclers" for processing. However, Baguio could not confirm and prove that those cartons had been given to Mil Mill or exported to other places for recycling, the department said.

In a reply to The Standard, the department said it had immediately ordered the operators of Green@Community to stop passing cartons to Baguio. Instead, they had to deliver them to Mil Mill for processing.

"At the same time, the EPD will carry out follow-up actions in accordance with the provision of services, including issuing a warning and refusing granting the fees for processing that batch of beverage cartons, as well as issuing fines," the department said.

Green@Kwun Tong said yesterday there was no improper handling of beverage cartons and it had been following the procedures of the department.

Speaking in a radio program yesterday, Edwin Lau Che-feng, founder and executive director of Green Earth, called on the department to probe the incident as it should be able to tackle the problem by checking the documents thoroughly, and to reveal the organizations which made the mistake in order to restore people's confidence.

Lau said the incident was bizarre as the recycling station took more than half a year to collect the three tons of beverage cartons.