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EPD gazettes commencement notices for producer responsibility scheme on waste electrical and electronic equipment
Photo: GeoExpat

Good news on the collection, disposal and recycling of electrical and electronic waste. The Government published in the Gazette today three commencement notices concerning the producer responsibility scheme on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WPRS). The WPRS aims to promote recycling and proper disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment generated in Hong Kong and will be fully implemented in phases within this year. Buzz says this is about time.

Provisions concerning suppliers of air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, computers, printers, scanners and monitors (collectively referred to as regulated electrical equipment (REE)) will be implemented on 1 August 2018. From then on, a supplier of REE must have been registered with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) before distributing REE. Registered suppliers must also fulfil other statutory obligations, including the submission of returns to the EPD and payment of recycling levies, as well as providing recycling labels when distributing REE.

Provisions concerning sellers of REE will also come into operation at the same time. From 1 August 2018, a seller must have a removal service plan endorsed by the EPD for selling REE. When a seller sells REE and if requested by the consumer, the seller should arrange for the consumer a free removal service to dispose of the same class of equipment abandoned by the consumer in accordance with the endorsed plan. The seller must also provide recycling labels to consumers purchasing REE, and a receipt containing the prescribed wording on the recycling levies.

Suppliers and sellers of REE may, from 4 May 2018, submit to the EPD applications regarding the registration of suppliers and endorsement of removal service plans.

The disposal licensing control, import and export permit control and landfill disposal ban in respect of abandoned REE will commence on 31 December 2018. By then, any person who is engaged in the storage, treatment, reprocessing or recycling of abandoned REE must obtain a waste disposal licence; a permit will be required for the import and export of abandoned REE; and abandoned REE will no longer be accepted for disposal at the landfills and other designated waste disposal facilities (e.g. refuse transfer stations).

The Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, said, “Since the enabling legislation and relevant subsidiary legislation for the WPRS were passed respectively in 2016 and 2017, the Government and the relevant trades have been working closely to get prepared for the full implementation of the scheme, including the launch of trial schemes to get them familiar with the relevant operations. We are grateful for the concerted efforts of different sectors, which show the spirit of shared eco-responsibility. I am glad to see the implementation of the scheme this year, which is a step forward for achieving sustainable use of resources in Hong Kong.”

Mr Wong added, “In future, members of the public who purchase REE will be provided with a free removal service arranged by the seller to dispose of an item of the same class they intend to abandon. The abandoned item will be sent to a recycler holding a valid waste disposal licence for proper disposal.”

The three notices, namely the Promotion of Recycling and Proper Disposal (Electrical Equipment and Electronic Equipment) (Amendment) Ordinance 2016 (Commencement) Notice 2018, the Product Eco-Responsibility (Regulated Electrical Equipment) Regulation (Commencement) Notice and the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Application of Section 16) Notice 2018, will be tabled at the Legislative Council on 28 February 2018.

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