|China approves e-waste regulation – systems proposed, penalties established|
|By Stuart Hoggard|
|28 August 2008|
As with most of China’s new wave of environmental legislation, the regulation was initially issued in draft form ‘”for public comment” before being passed into law.
As the China: Draft Proposal on Recycling and Treatment of Waste Electrical Appliances, Proposed Regulation, substantial revisions were made “following years of debate” according to Xinhua news agency and a new draft issued in June 2006 - effectively China’s WEEE regulation.
While the current approved draft may contain minor changes, the key points of the 2006 draft regulation are as follows:
Promulgated in line with of the Clean Production Promotion Law and the Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution Caused by Solid Waste, to regulate the recycling and treatment of waste electrical and electronic appliances, protect and improve the environment, and safeguard human health. It is also intended to promote the circular use of resources, a clear reference in the first Article to the Cycling Economy Law.
It requires mandatory recycling of, electrical and electronic appliances discarded by the consumer, elements, parts, spares and components and consumable materials discarded in the process of manufacturing [and/or] maintaining electrical and electronic appliance.
As with all Chinese legislation of this nature, the WEEE regulations, come with the Main Body of the Law and supplementary Appendix, known as the ‘Catalogue.’ Essentially if a product is listed in the Catalogue or referred to in the main body, then all the product parts, components, spares and consumables will be covered by this law.
The 2008 draft Catalogue requires mandatory recycling of; Televisions of all types (CRT, LCD etc), refrigerators, washing machines, air-conditioners, and computers – this however is listed as ‘batch one’ an indicator that the Catalogue is to be expanded greatly.
Community recycling networks for waste electrical and electronic appliance recycling are to be encouraged, as the establishment of a comprehensive recycling system, which should include treatment enterprises, manufacturers, used goods business operators to facilitate waste recycling and treatment. None of the products covered by WEEE shall be permitted to enter the Municipal Waste stream.
The Legislation includes clear and spscific legal liabilities and penalties:
Implications for Packaging
While not a ‘packaging’ issue directly, China’s WEEE regulations mirror many of the provisions and implementation processes currently being introduced under the Packaging Master Plan (the Method for Administration of Recycling Packaging Materials).
In particular the establishment of collection and recycling centers and the separation of municipal and e-waste into different waste streams in order to better manage the mega Recycling Industrial Zones to be established by 2012 in most of China’s 100 cities which have populations of more than one million people.