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E-waste disposal ‘not yet mature’ in China

China – ‘€˜Driven by interests, e-waste recycling processing with extremely severe pollution is formed in many places of China,’€™ a recent report by China Research and Intelligence Co (CRI) has claimed. The country’€™s e-waste disposal industry is ‘€˜not yet mature’€™, it adds.

China has been generating e-waste ‘€˜at an astonishing speed’€™ in recent years, CRI states, citing a 2010 figure of 2.3 million tonnes that makes it ‘€˜the second largest producing country of e-wastes worldwide’€™; in first place is the USA with 3 million tonnes. The report states Chinese volumes are likely to snowball given that the country’€™s output of electrical and electronic equipment scaled new heights in 2011 of 320 million computers, 120 million televisions and 105 million refrigerators.

In the next few years, the annual tally of major waste electrical and electronic products in China will pass 100 million items. ‘€˜It is expected that, by 2015, the generating volume of China’€™s e-wastes will be over 5 million tonnes,’€™ CRI observes. Household appliances currently in use will soon ‘€˜enter an outbreak stage of replacement’€™.

At present, China counts more than 100 e-waste disposal enterprises, profits from which are estimated to have exceeded Yuan 3 billion (Euro 378 million/US$ 481 million) this year. These are able to recycle roughly 60 million items of e-waste, thus yielding around 500 000 tonnes of secondary resources such as metals, plastics and glass.

On a positive note, the report says: ‘€˜China continuously improves e-waste recycling and comprehensive utilisation management systems, introducing a series of encouraging and stimulus policies.’€™ It cites the 2009 implementation of the ‘€˜old-for-new policy’€™ of household appliances as a prime example because this ‘€˜accelerated the centralised recycling and dismantling disposal of e-waste’€™.

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