Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The Environment Bureau today (January 18) issued a consultation document to seek public views on introducing legislation to implement a mandatory producer responsibility scheme for the proper management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).The consultation will last for around three months until April 30. WEEE contained hazardous components that were harmful to the environment and human health if not properly treated or disposed of, the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, said. He said various jurisdictions across the globe had put in place specific measures for the management of WEEE.The mainstream approach had been to bring WEEE under mandatory control through producer responsibility schemes.

"By introducing the proposed producer responsibility scheme, we could on the one hand avoid the negative impact that WEEE might bring about on the environment and on the other hand promote the recycling of waste and the reuse and recovery of useful materials," Mr Yau said."At the same time, we could foster the development of the local environmental industries." Hong Kong generates around 70,000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment each year and the volume has been increasing at the rate of 2% annually in recent years.Although 80% of locally generated WEEE is recovered by second-hand dealers, it is usually exported to developing countries for re-use and recovery of useful materials.This exporting strategy is not environmentally sound and is indeed unsustainable. The Legislative Council enacted the Product Eco-responsibility Ordinance (Cap 603) in July 2008 to provide a legal framework for implementing mandatory producer responsibility schemes for various products including electrical and electronic equipment.An environmental levy has already been introduced for plastic shopping bags and in his 2009-10 Policy Address the Chief Executive identified WEEE as the next target for a producer responsibility scheme. "The consultation document presents our analysis of the options for a WEEE scheme for Hong Kong, including the coverage of the scheme, how to provide proper treatment for waste electrical and electronic equipment, how to manage its flow and how to share the cost of the scheme.In drawing up the analysis, due regard has been given to relevant international experience as well as our local context," Mr Yau said.

"We will listen to the views of all parties in an open-minded manner." The consultation document has been uploaded to the website of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD): (www.epd.gov.hk/epd/weee).It is also obtainable from EPD and District Offices.People may forward their views and comments to the EPD by April 30 by post, email or facsimile, or over the Internet.Details are as follows - By post: Environmental Protection Department Waste Management Policy Group Room 4522, 45th floor, Revenue Tower 5 Gloucester Road Hong Kong By email: weee@epd.gov.hk By facsimile: 2318 1877 By Internet: www.epd.gov.hk/epd/weee

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