The government has drafted a rule that will lead to the creation of a
producer-oriented system for collecting and recycling waste electronics
equipment (WEE) this year.
The draft rule by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) still
awaits approval of the State Council, according to an NDRC official who declined
to be named.
According to the draft rule, manufacturers of computers, TV sets,
refrigerators, washing machines and air-conditioners will be held responsible
for recycling their products.
Enterprises that refuse to participate in the recycling program will face
severe punishment, which could include fines of up to 100,000 yuan ($12,500) or
having their licences revoked, said the draft.
Few manufacturers recycle their products at the moment, mainly because most
of them cannot afford to.
According to the draft, the NDRC and the Ministry of Finance plan to
establish a special fund to defray some of the manufacturers' costs arising from
Industry professionals also urged manufacturers to focus more on
"eco-design", or environmentally friendly components and manufacturing
techniques, to help them cut their costs over the long term.
The regulation is expected to affect a wide range of appliance and
electronics equipment makers from around the world, since China is emerging as
both a major manufacturing base and a big market for home appliances and
The EU unveiled a rule last year requiring all manufacturers of electronics
products destined for export to the EU to have their own recycling systems.
"The implementation of the rule is in line with the EU's regulations," said
The official added that many European firms that have established
manufacturing operations in China export products to the EU.
According to experts, the rule will reduce the environmental pollution caused
by stockpiled WEE and also promote the rehabilitation of second-hand electronics
The country's WEE recycling market is currently loosely-managed, with many
household vendors recycling and selling WEE, raising concerns about pollution
and quality, according to Wang Yukui, deputy secretary-general of the country's
National Home Electric Appliances Service Association.
"The rule, together with two previous laws in the field, will form a strict
network to regulate the recycling market," said Wang.
However, some experts said the market for re-used goods would be tight.
Xu Xiangdong, deputy secretary-general of the China Home Appliances
Association, said WEE recovery companies would suffer losses if less than
400,000 pieces of WEE are produced each year.
The regulation comes when the amount of so-called e-waste in China is at a
The NDRC has forecast that about 4 million refrigerators, 5 million washing
machines and as many TVs will be discarded nationwide in the next few years.
The NDRC set up four WEE reproduction pilot projects at factories in Beijing,
Tianjin, Qingdao and Hangzhou this month.
The Beijing project has the capacity to recycle and reproduce 1.2 million
pieces of WEE.
Experts estimate that Beijing produced 115,200 tons of e-waste last year
alone, including 3.6 million old TV sets, refrigerators, washing machines,
air-conditioners and personal computers as well as 2.3 million mobile phones.
Experts say Beijingers will throw away 158,300 tons of e-waste a year by
(China Daily 01/12/2007 page3)