Progress and Performance


The HKUST 2020 Sustainability Challenge set a reduction target of 50% below the baseline year of 2014. The strategy for reaching that target focuses on four key areas, namely recycling, food waste, compostables, and reductions at source (i.e., preventing waste from entering the campus in the first place). Now we have more than 10 types of materials for recycling ranging from common paper, plastic containers, metal to polyfoam, animal bedding and landscape. We hope to divert as much waste as possible from landfill through this aggressive recycling program. 

Compostables recycling program has been implemented for around 1 year but we can already see satisfactory progress has been made. The food waste program, which already captured all of the kitchen and table scrap wastes from the canteens. Except canteens in the public area, food waste collection is also available in staff quarters and residence halls. The university also included an expanded polystyrene (EPS), Styrofoam collection program, which does not reduce the overall numbers (because polystyrene is so light) but does reduce the bulk of trash significantly. It also guarantees that the light foam will not end up in the ocean, which is particularly dangerous to wildlife and very difficult to clean up afterwards.

RECYLING 2018-19




In the 2018-19 academic year, the waste to landfill dropped from 2,880 tons last year to 2,323 tons (19.3%), while the recycling amount increased by 31.5% with a total of 746 tons recyclables collected. The waste diversion rate was 24.3%.

With the expansion of food waste, the introduction of new streams like EPS, minor works construction wood and metal waste, yard waste, and household electronics, the total amount of recycling increased by 32%. After 1 year effort, landscape contribution was increased from 4% to almost 20%, which was the second highest recycled material. Food waste was the most commonly recycled material, representing 41% of total materials diverted from the landfill. Food waste generated was 16.5kg per capita, which was a 3.2% reduction compared to previous year. Paper was the third highest recycled material, contributing to 16% of the total recycling amount.