Street cleaners have said new “small hole” rubbish bins, intended to reduce the amount of trash thrown on the streets, are creating more work for them. Instead of throwing rubbish inside the bin, members of the public are reportedly disposing of items beside the bins instead.

In a programme starting on Monday, the government replaced 800 rubbish bins around the territory. The new version features a smaller “mouth” measuring 23 cm by 15 cm. Previously, the holes measured 37 cm by 19 cm.

An old rubbish bin model featuring a bigger hole.

One street cleaner told Ming Pao that people “were throwing everything there,” next to the bin. He said that his workload had increased.

Chu Hon-keung, director of environmental activist group The Green Earth, told Apple Daily that “Even if the hole is smaller, everyone will think that they cannot stuff trash inside – they will just place it outside.”

Photo: GovHK.

He said that, whilst the government is intending to tax waste, it did not make clear the relationship between reducing waste on the streets and smaller holes on bins.

According to Hong Kong law, throwing trash in public, including next to rubbish bins or outside rubbish collection points, is illegal. Offenders may face up to HK$25,000 in fines and up to six months in jail.

The government also reduced the number of bins by 15 percent, or around 3,100 bins, last year.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department manage around 24,200 bins around the city. It is not known whether more bins are set to be replaced with the new version.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.