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Hong Kong’s ‘flagship’ e-scrap facility nears start-up…finally

China – There were serious delays in its construction and completion. But now the Hong Kong WEEE Park, seen as the modern face of electronics recycling in Hong Kong, is all set to open its doors.

The Euro 60 million (US$ 74 million) treatment facility, initiated and financed by the Hong Kong government and developed/managed by Germany’s ALBA Group, is designed to bring important change for the Special Administrative Region’s seven million-plus residents. The contract, which the Hong Kong government awarded ALBA in 2015, involves not only the construction of the e-scrap recycling plant but also operation of the collection and recycling system for a duration of 10 years.

Located in the Tuen Mun EcoPark, north of Hong Kong’s international airport, the new Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Treatment and Recycling Facility (WEEETRF) will have the capacity to handle up to 30 000 tonnes of e-scrap per year, with the potential to expand up to 57 000 tonnes.

One of a kind

‘There’s nothing like it in South East Asia,’ Recycling International was told last year by Nigel Mattravers, director and general manager of ALBA Integrated Waste Solutions (Hong Kong), a division of ALBA Group. ‘This is a flagship electronics recycling project, not only for the metropolis of Hong Kong but far beyond.’

With its annual electronic scrap volumes of more than 70 000 tonnes equating to almost 22 kg per capita, Hong Kong is Asia’s biggest e-scrap generator, encompassing not only computers, fridges and TV sets but also mountains of rice cookers and discarded air-conditioners. ‘Some 400 000 air-conditioners are installed in Hong Kong homes and offices every year, and among these are many replacements,’says Mattravers.

He estimates that 80% of Hong Kong’s electronic scrap is currently exported to developing countries while 20% is dumped in local landfills. ‘There is improper storage and unhealthy processing in the New Territories; sooner or later, these practices have to come to an end,’he stresses.

Official opening

The official opening of the facility will take place on March 19 in the presence of chief executive Carrie Lam, the head of government of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, secretary for the environment Wong Kam-sing, and the chairman of ALBA Group’s board of directors Dr Axel Schweitzer.

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