Dispose e-waste with care: Hong Kong to start ‘producer pays’ scheme for 70,000 tonnes generated in city annually

Washing machines are included in the long-awaited recycling scheme. Photo: Edward Wong

Washing machines are included in the long-awaited recycling scheme. Photo: Edward Wong

The rules for disposing electrical and electronic appliances in Hong Kong will get stricter as a “producer pays” scheme takes effect in August to tackle the 70,000 tonnes of e-waste generated locally per year, officials said on Thursday.

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing called the breakthrough a “step forward for achieving sustainable use of resources” in the city, which has gained notoriety for one of the highest rates of e-waste generation per capita in Asia.

The producer responsibility scheme, whose enabling legislation and subsidiary laws were passed in 2015 and 2016, aims to promote recycling as well as the proper disposal of electrical and electronic equipment waste. It does so by making suppliers and sellers pay for the collection, handling and disposal of old, unwanted appliances.

From August, sellers of old appliances in the scheme must display recycling labels on the items. Photo: Felix Wong

From August, sellers of old appliances in the scheme must display recycling labels on the items. Photo: Felix Wong

From August 1 onwards, those who supply air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, computers, printers, scanners and monitors must have in place a free removal service for customers. Their service must be approved by the Environmental Protection Department.