Towards sustainable consumption: A socio-economic analysis of household waste recycling outcomes in Hong Kong

Alex Y. Lo, Shuwen Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Many high-density cities struggle to find space for disposing municipal solid waste. Hong Kong is one of these cities, seeking to scale up waste recovery efforts as an alternative to disposal. However, territory-wide recovery initiatives do not account for socio-economic variations across place, leading to mixed outcomes among diverse communities. This study aims to investigate socio-economic effects on recycling behavior in a sample of subsidized rental housing estates. It constitutes an improvement from previous studies by using the entire estate as a unit of analysis and analyzing actual recycling outcomes, which have received limited attention from researchers. The analysis focused on the volume of recyclables collected from 158 public housing estates in Hong Kong, with an average population of 12,285. Results suggest that recycling outcomes vary with a limited set of socio-economic factors. Housing estates managed by a private property management company and populated by better off households collected more recyclables from their residents. Measures of absolute and relative recycling intensity achieved similar results. The findings will be useful for identifying residential communities requiring additional support for promoting waste separation and recycling. Differentiated policies for economically disadvantaged communities are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-425
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018


  • Environmental behavior
  • Household income
  • Household waste
  • Waste recycling
  • Waste separation


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