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《SCMP Young Post》 Interview Mil Mill Tour Organized by Green Hope Hong Kong


Article : If Mil Mill shuts, Hong Kong loses not only its sole drinks carton recycler but also leader in green innovation, education

Kelly Fung | Published: 10:30am, 17 Oct, 2022

  • Co-founder of the recycling plant, Harold Yip Man-ki, explains how tough it is to recycle beverage cartons and why education, transparency and technology are key for sustainability

  • Last month, government-backed landlord Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation said it would not renew the company’s lease

Harold Yip Man-ki, 58, took a handful of grey fibres from a large container and rubbed them in his hand to show how soft they were after impurities were removed.

Without Yip’s work, these fibres, extracted from waste drinks cartons, would have been part of the 2,700 tonnes of paper waste that ends up in Hong Kong’s landfills every day. Ever since Yip co-founded Mil Mill, the city’s first and only facility for recycling beverage cartons, this waste can be made into paper, stationery and even furniture.

“Waste beverage cartons are sent to the landfills if there isn’t a local facility to handle them,” Yip said. “[A pulp mill] can also set a key example for others to understand what recycling is and be incentivised to recycle.”

The 20,000-sq-ft plant in Yuen Long Industrial Estate can convert about three tonnes of drinks cartons and 10 tonnes of waste paper into 25 tonnes of paper pulp daily.

Setting up the pulp mill cost about HK$10 million (US$1.27 million), most of which was invested by its co-founders. But last month, the government-backed landlord Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation told the operator it would not renew the company’s lease.

“We don’t know how they will use this site [after Mil Mill is gone], or whether it will just be another piece of empty land facing the sun,” said Yip.

Not easy to replace