Where there's muck, there's money
In 2018 there will once again be a waste incinerator - called an Integrated Waste Management Facility - operating in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's previous incinerators had to be closed due to their heavy air pollution but modern facilities do not pose this threat.
They are designed to reduce the waste's volume by 90 percent and turn the heat generated during the process to energy. The ashes are still put into the landfills, albeit the reduced volume of landfill waste lengthens their life time. The waste problem itself, however, is not being fully tackled.
The wet/dry waste separation system uses an easy to practice principle: waste is separated into just wet or dry categories at the household level. It theoretically takes care of every waste and has been tested in Hong Kong in 2003.
The Environmental Protection Department reported that the recycling rates were higher than in any other system tested, but it simply was too costly because at that time humans sorted the waste.
In more modern wet/dry systems, however, wet waste (i.e. organic waste) would be treated in OWTFs and dry waste processed at modern recycling facilities. There the waste is loaded into a shredder and reduced to little pieces. These are then classified by x-rays and sorted, resulting in raw materials with high worth.
As advances are made, Hong Kong should revisit waste management systems and technologies, so that the term "waste" itself becomes redundant and nothing is wasted.