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postgraduate thesis: Biodegradable plastics : feasible in Hong Kong?

TitleBiodegradable plastics : feasible in Hong Kong?
Authors
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Lam, H. D. [林浩正]. (2013). Biodegradable plastics : feasible in Hong Kong?. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5099088
AbstractSince their inception and invention, plastic materials have taken on an essential role in numerous applications within the lives of human beings for years now. Each year, the global figure for production of plastic is estimated to be more than 100 million tons. The major reason for the existence of such an enormous amount is due to plastics’ supremacy over other materials with their exceptionally useful properties. According to Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department, 13,458 tons of waste was disposed in Hong Kong’s landfills per day during 2011. Such an amount is very large in quantity, and it is predicted that the three strategic landfills of Hong Kong will be fully saturated in 2015-16 if the waste generation rate remains similar as present time and business as usual. Plastics made up approximately 19% of the overall composition of Hong Kong’s disposed municipal solid waste in 2011. Plastic material does not degrade efficiently, and since it has only been in production during the most current century, plastic specialists have not been able to conclude the final life span of the material before it completely degrades. Estimates for different plastic polymers range from 20 years to 400 years and above. To solve these increasingly serious environmental issues, the society has raised its demands and directed many researches into biodegradable polymers (i.e., plastics). They have now become more seriously considered as alternative solutions for conventional, non-biodegradable plastics. However, the creation of such biodegradable materials, the efficiency and cost of that creation and the true biodegradability of those materials is under much scrutiny and debate. The purpose of this study was multi-faceted. It primarily focused on (1) the status and production of biodegradable products in Hong Kong and (2) assessment of the general public’s receptiveness towards using such products. This study aimed to evaluate the above two aspects via literature review and interviews of representatives from biodegradable plastics companies in Hong Kong as well as students and general working-class citizens. This element inquired whether the general public would be willing to pay extra money to use biodegradable plastic products, and whether they thought that these products had beneficial effects towards environmental conservation and protection. Also, the general public would be asked their opinion on a duty for biodegradable products and whether they would be adverse to a policy implementation involving such a duty. A large portion of this project’s critically significant data was generated from random, systematic sampling of different people, asking them about the aforementioned monetary scenarios. Results were insightful and informative giving evident trends that represented the public’s attitude towards biodegradable plastics. Overall, the public was positively supportive of biodegradable technology, which is relatively new. Concurrently, extensive literature review was conducted to assess foreign practices and policies regarding biodegradable plastics, as well as the life-cycle of a primary biopolymer called polylactic acid. A concluding recommendation was constructed to envision the future waste management infrastructure in Hong Kong. That infrastructure could build off of the special region’s budding development of incinerators, composting facilities, waste-to-energy facilities, and sorting technologies. Then, to supplement biodegradable polymer production and post-use handling facilities, the Hong Kong SAR Government could implement strong waste management policies to motivate its society to aim for a more sustainable way of life.
DegreeMaster of Science in Environmental Management
SubjectBiodegradable plastics - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramEnvironmental Management
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/194554

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLam, Ho-ching, Dennis-
dc.contributor.author林浩正-
dc.date.accessioned2014-02-11T23:10:29Z-
dc.date.available2014-02-11T23:10:29Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationLam, H. D. [林浩正]. (2013). Biodegradable plastics : feasible in Hong Kong?. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5099088-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/194554-
dc.description.abstractSince their inception and invention, plastic materials have taken on an essential role in numerous applications within the lives of human beings for years now. Each year, the global figure for production of plastic is estimated to be more than 100 million tons. The major reason for the existence of such an enormous amount is due to plastics’ supremacy over other materials with their exceptionally useful properties. According to Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department, 13,458 tons of waste was disposed in Hong Kong’s landfills per day during 2011. Such an amount is very large in quantity, and it is predicted that the three strategic landfills of Hong Kong will be fully saturated in 2015-16 if the waste generation rate remains similar as present time and business as usual. Plastics made up approximately 19% of the overall composition of Hong Kong’s disposed municipal solid waste in 2011. Plastic material does not degrade efficiently, and since it has only been in production during the most current century, plastic specialists have not been able to conclude the final life span of the material before it completely degrades. Estimates for different plastic polymers range from 20 years to 400 years and above. To solve these increasingly serious environmental issues, the society has raised its demands and directed many researches into biodegradable polymers (i.e., plastics). They have now become more seriously considered as alternative solutions for conventional, non-biodegradable plastics. However, the creation of such biodegradable materials, the efficiency and cost of that creation and the true biodegradability of those materials is under much scrutiny and debate. The purpose of this study was multi-faceted. It primarily focused on (1) the status and production of biodegradable products in Hong Kong and (2) assessment of the general public’s receptiveness towards using such products. This study aimed to evaluate the above two aspects via literature review and interviews of representatives from biodegradable plastics companies in Hong Kong as well as students and general working-class citizens. This element inquired whether the general public would be willing to pay extra money to use biodegradable plastic products, and whether they thought that these products had beneficial effects towards environmental conservation and protection. Also, the general public would be asked their opinion on a duty for biodegradable products and whether they would be adverse to a policy implementation involving such a duty. A large portion of this project’s critically significant data was generated from random, systematic sampling of different people, asking them about the aforementioned monetary scenarios. Results were insightful and informative giving evident trends that represented the public’s attitude towards biodegradable plastics. Overall, the public was positively supportive of biodegradable technology, which is relatively new. Concurrently, extensive literature review was conducted to assess foreign practices and policies regarding biodegradable plastics, as well as the life-cycle of a primary biopolymer called polylactic acid. A concluding recommendation was constructed to envision the future waste management infrastructure in Hong Kong. That infrastructure could build off of the special region’s budding development of incinerators, composting facilities, waste-to-energy facilities, and sorting technologies. Then, to supplement biodegradable polymer production and post-use handling facilities, the Hong Kong SAR Government could implement strong waste management policies to motivate its society to aim for a more sustainable way of life.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshBiodegradable plastics - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleBiodegradable plastics : feasible in Hong Kong?-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5099088-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Science in Environmental Management-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEnvironmental Management-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5099088-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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