EPD to introduce bill for producer responsibility scheme on waste electrical and electronic equipment

     The Promotion of Recycling and Proper Disposal (Electrical Equipment and Electronic Equipment) (Amendment) Bill 2015 (the Bill) will be published in the Gazette tomorrow (March 13) and introduced into the Legislative Council (LegCo) for first and second readings by the Secretary for the Environment next Wednesday (March 18).
     The Bill seeks to implement the producer responsibility scheme (PRS) on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in line with the polluter pays principle, so as to facilitate the efficient collection and proper recycling of locally generated WEEE.

     A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said, "The PRS, an important waste reduction initiative under the Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022, seeks to drive behavioural change to reduce waste at source. The implementation of the PRS on WEEE is one of our major objectives."

     The Bill proposes to include air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, television sets as well as computers and certain associated devices including printers, scanners and monitors (collectively as "regulated electrical equipment") in the PRS. Manufacturers and importers of regulated electrical equipment will be required to register as registered suppliers and pay a recycling fee for regulated electrical equipment that is distributed in Hong Kong. The Bill also proposes the following measures in relation to the collection, recycling and disposal of regulated e-waste:

* a seller must arrange, after distribution of regulated electrical equipment, a removal service for consumers free of charge such that the old equipment can be delivered to a competent recycler;

* any person who is engaged in the storage, treatment, reprocessing and recycling of regulated e-waste must obtain a waste disposal licence;

* a permit is required for the import and export of regulated e-waste; and

* regulated e-waste will no longer be accepted at landfills for disposal.

     "We will work with the LegCo in the scrutiny of the Bill and will, after the Bill is enacted, further submit subsidiary legislation to the LegCo to make provisions for the implementation details, including the recycling fee level for the various types of regulated electrical equipment," the EPD spokesman said.

     To tie in with the implementation of the new PRS, the Government obtained funding approval from the LegCo on February 27, 2015 and will, based on the tender results, appoint an operator for the development of the WEEE treatment and recycling facility at the EcoPark through a "Design-Build-and-Operate" contractual arrangement. With a handling capacity of about 30 000 tonnes per annum, the facility will provide proper treatment for regulated e-waste collected under the PRS, through detoxification, dismantling and recycling procedures, thus turning it into various useful materials or parts. The new facility is expected to be completed for commissioning in 2017.

Ends/Thursday, March 12, 2015
Issued at HKT 11:34