Waste Classification and Terminology

Waste Classification and Terminology Solid waste is classified into three main types by making reference to the sources of waste and the institutional arrangements for waste collection and disposal. These three types of solid waste are municipal solid waste, construction waste and special waste. The detailed interpretations of some commonly used terms are described below. Municipal solid waste includes domestic waste, commercial waste and industrial waste.

  • Domestic waste refers to household waste, waste generated from daily activities ininstitutional premises and refuse collected from public cleansing services. Public cleansing waste includes dirt and litter collected by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), marine refuse collected by the Marine Department and waste from country parks collected by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
  • Commercial waste is waste arising from commercial activities taking place in shops, restaurants, hotels, offices, markets in private housing estates, etc. It is collected mainly by private waste collectors. However, some commercial waste is mixed with domestic waste and collected by the FEHD.
  • Industrial waste is waste arising from industrial activities and does not include construction waste and chemical waste. It is usually collected by private waste collectors. However, some industries may deliver their industrial waste directly to landfills for disposal.
  • It should be noted that there are bulky items like furniture and domestic appliances which cannot be handled by conventional compactor type refuse collection vehicles. These items are regarded as bulky waste and are usually collected separately. They may come from residential premises, commercial and industrial activities.
  • Construction waste (previously known as construction & demolition waste)is a mixture of surplus materials arising from site clearance, excavation, construction, refurbishment, renovation, demolition and road works. Over 80% of construction wastes are inert, which include debris, rubble, earth and concrete, are suitable for site formation and land reclamation. When properly sorted, materials such as concrete and asphalt can be recycled for use in construction. The remaining non-inert substances in construction waste, which include bamboo, timber, vegetation, packaging waste and other organic materials, are not suitable for site formation or land reclamation and are disposed of at landfills. Overall construction waste received at landfills includes construction waste from construction sites and waste concrete that is generated from concrete batching plants and cement plaster/mortar manufacturing plants not set up inside construction sites.
  • Special waste is waste that requires special disposal arrangement. It includes abattoir waste, animal carcasses, asbestos, chemical waste, clinical waste, condemned goods, CWTC stabilized residue, dredged mud and excavated materials, sewage treatment and waterworks. treatment sludge, grease trap waste, livestock waste, sewage works screenings, waste tyres, furnace bottom ash, pulverised fuel ash, etc.
  • Chemical waste is defined in the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Cap. 354). Chemical waste can be any substance arising from any process or trade activity which contains chemical in such form, quantity or concentration that can cause pollution to the environment or become a risk to health.

Note: Part of the waste generated from schools, government offices, government markets, etc. was mixed with household waste and/or public cleansing refuse during the process of collection carried out by the FEHD.