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New recycling policy fine, but make it work better

China Daily | Updated: 2018-09-08 03:35
Hong Kong consumers still want better and more convenient services to help them get rid of old or unused electrical appliances that are destined for the landfills.[Photo provided to China Daily]

The government's new recycling policy of appointing one company to handle the disposal of all discarded large household electrical appliances and computers is widely seen as a good idea that's poorly executed.

At various public forums, including those broadcast on television, the policy was roundly criticized for creating huge inconvenience for those who need to replace their broken appliances at home.

Before the new rule came into force a week ago, the vendor would bring the new appliance to your home, install it and take away the old one. But, Hong Kong is said to be running out of dump sites. The new approach is supposed to offer a workable solution for the looming environmental disaster.

The authorities have assured consumers there's nothing they need to worry about. The vendors would make the arrangements and the collector would turn up to remove the broken appliances within three days.

But, in real life, this is not necessarily the case as my personal experience shows. I bought a new refrigerator from a vendor who told me to call the government-designated collector myself to make the arrangement.

Anyone who has to do that would find the line is almost always busy. I finally got through after many attempts, only to be told that the earliest they could come to collect the appliance was on a Saturday the week after. That meant I had to share the already cramp living space with a useless object that was taller than me for nearly two weeks. Luckily, I convinced the building's caretaker to take away the freezer, assuring him that it was still working fine.

Indeed, most of the people complaining about the new policy on the internet didn't seem to mind the small charge they were required to pay for the collection. Like me, they abhorred the idea of having to share their valuable living space with a broken and most probably rusty and dirty washing machine, refrigerator or air conditioner for any period of time.

The policy, which is supposed to be good for the environment, would work if the government can find sites to temporarily store discarded appliances so that the collector can make regular calls to pick them up instead of wasting time in traffic going from home to home.

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