Construction of the government-funded Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Treatment and Recycling Facility (WEEETRF) commenced yesterday (January 21).
The WEEETRF, which is expected to be commissioned in mid-2017, will have a capacity of handling 30 000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) per year and will provide collection and proper treatment services for eight types of regulated e-waste to tie in with the implementation of the producer responsibility scheme (PRS) on WEEE.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, said, The commencement of construction of the WEEETRF shows that the Government has been implementing the mandatory PRS as scheduled under the Hong Kong Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources to reduce waste. Following the commissioning of the WEEETRF, the recycling procedures undertaken in the EcoPark will also increase accordingly, which will help promote the development of the local recycling industry.
With the funding approval of the Legislative Council Finance Committee in February last year, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), after having completed an open tender process, signed a contract with ALBA Integrated Waste Solutions Hong Kong Ltd (ALBA-IWS) for the design, construction and operation of the WEEETRF in May last year. The participating companies under the joint venture have extensive experience in the management technologies of WEEE and the operation of the local recycling network. They will provide collection services for the regulated e-waste and make use of relevant technologies in the detoxification, dismantling and recycling processes to turn waste into different kinds of reusable materials such as plastic and metals.
Mr Wong said, In addition to the construction of the WEEETRF, the EPD and the service operator have also been progressively enhancing the collection service in preparing for the implementation of the mandatory PRS on WEEE. The EPD launched a hotline (Tel: 2676 8888) last year to provide a one-stop service for obtaining the latest information on the collection services for WEEE.
The Government has been actively pursuing the relevant legislative work. Scrutiny of the bill by the Bills Committee has already been completed and we hope that the second reading of the bill can be resumed and the legislation can be passed as soon as possible. The Government will formulate the operational details with members of the trade and draw up the necessary subsidiary legislation, with a view to fully implementing the PRS in mid-2017.
The major measures of the PRS on WEEE include:
* the inclusion of air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, television sets, computers, printers, scanners and monitors 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;
* after distribution of regulated electrical equipment, a seller must arrange a free removal service for consumers to deliver the old equipment 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 will be required for the import and export of regulated e-waste; and
* regulated e-waste will no longer be accepted for disposal at landfills.