DSPA launches plan to recycle 50,000 electronic devices in one year

Chan Kwok Ho (center)

The government, through the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA), launched a trial plan that aims to collect at least 50,000 electronic devices, including computers, mobile phones, sound systems and other communication devices. The announcement was made yesterday by the chief of the Environmental Infrastructure Management Centre of the DSPA, Chan Kwok Ho at a press conference.

According to the same official, the trial plan will be carried out over one year and will include the collection of the mentioned items from public entities, individual citizens and schools and education institutions as well as other private non-profit organizations. It will aim to properly treat all of this solid waste that “has been growing” due to the rapid “technological evolution.”

Chan, when questioned by the media, mentioned that at the current pace they have been collecting electronics is around 7,000 tons/year of such products and that a good part of these products up in being destroyed by an incinerator.

The DSPA proposes to change this scenario, putting in place a scheme that includes a series of collection points that include the headquarters of the DSPA, some fixed collection points located at the current “green points,” as well as the inclusion of a program of moving collection points using a special vehicle prepared for this purpose.

“After the collection the products will be dismantled, separated and sent abroad for further treatment,” Chan explained, noting that materials such as aluminum and plastic will be sent to mainland China and circuit boards will be sent to be treated in Japan. “We do not have capacity to treat this kind of products locally,” he remarked.

In charge of all this process of collecting, separating and forwarding the materials for further treatment will be a Hong Kong based company. Chan has said that this company has “wide experience in this field and working together with several companies in HK.” The chosen company, Zhongxing Vannex (Macau) Limited (a subsidiary of the HK based Vannex International Limited), will receive an amount close to MOP4Million in a contract directly awarded by the DSPA without the need of a public tender.

Chan mentioned that this amount can vary “according to the quantity of products collected and treated.”

Questioned on the topic, Chan justified the choice by saying that the contract is for a one-year trial plan only, noting that “according to the results obtained the government will evaluate the possibility to continue with such plan and at that time a public tender would be considered.”

For the future, the DSPA department chief said the government has an interest in including other products such as electrical appliances, an extension that is not possible for the time being, “due to the lack of land resources” needed to establish a location on where to process such a large number of items.

Collection truck

For now, citizens can dispose of their unused or obsolete information technology and communication devices to the bureau. Some of those devices will not be recycled. “Those who fit some criteria and are more up-to-date can be repaired or refurbished and will be delivered to [charitable] institutions,” Chan clarified. 

As for the collection points where the truck will pass, interested parties can check the DSPA website for the complete schedule of all locations and times of the 12 locations in the peninsula and four in Taipa.

During the trial period, the collection vehicle will operate during Thursday and Saturday afternoons.

Adding to this and regarding public entities, schools and non- profitable organizations, these organizations can request a curbside collection every time they have gathered a certain amount of these products. The company will send the collection vehicle at a scheduled time to collect them.

Excluded from this trial plan were private companies. “We think that the private companies have a social responsibility that they need to assume [on their own],” Chan explained, adding that not including these companies has the purpose to allow the current market operators [collection people] to continue to operate without major interference. Chan noted that in the future all these factors will be considered as the trial run of the projects serves exactly, “to gather experience that will allow the launching of other possible plans, serving [this] as reference.”

Battery collect plan already reached 5,600kg

Addressing a previous plan launched last year by the DSPA that aimed to collect domestic use batteries, the chief of the Environmental Infrastructure Management Centre of the DSPA, Chan Kwok Ho noted, “so far we have reached a total of 5,600 kilograms of collected batteries.”However, these batteries still wait for a final destination and therefore remain untreated since “there aren’t conditions to do so.” “We will soon to do a pre-treatment [on those batteries collected],” Chan added.

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