Users likely to take recycling hit

2016-01-22

2016-01-22 | |The Standard

Users likely to take recycling hit

Broken-down air-conditioners, television sets and computers can all be recycled into valuable resources by nextyear, but the cost is likely to be passed on to customers.

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing made the somber predictionyesterday at the start of construction of the HK$530 million Waste Electrical andElectronic Equipment Treatmentand Recycling Facility at the EcoParkinTuenMun.

The facility, which is expected to becompleted in mid-2017, will be able to handle 30,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year -less than half of the 70,000 tonnes thrown away by Hong Konghouseholds and companies.

Eight types of home electrical appliances would be taken to the facilityfor inspection. They will be repaired iffound useful and donated to charities while those beyond repair will be brokendown into small parts and recycled after removing harmful substances.

Other usable components andmaterials will be recovered for reuse andrecycling.Wong said the project is a significant step in the implementation of the producerresponsibility scheme, which willrequiresuppliers of these products tofollow the “polluter pays” principle andpay an extra recycling fee for the electrical equipment they sell.

Manufacturers and importers of eight kinds of e-products _ air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, television sets, computers, printers, scannersand monitors _ will also need to arrangea free removal service for consumers to deliver the old equipment to a competentrecycler.

Wong is aware that the new cost could make it more expensive for HongKong citizens.

“The extra cost, if incurred, will besomehow shared among the related stakeholders _ that means the manufacturers, the retailers and the consumers. So it is not solely borne bythe manufacturers, but throughout theprocess. There will be a commercial process that will somehow distribute the additional cost amongthem,” he said.

Thegovernment is looking to fullyimplement the scheme next year if thebill can be passed by the LegislativeCouncil.

Wong said the Environmental ProtectionDepartment enhanced the mobilecollection vehicle service last October to collect computers, rechargeable batteries, compact fluorescent lamps and fluorescent tubes in all 18 districts.

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