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HK Recovers 28 Tons of Rechargeable Batteries
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In Hong Kong in the past 19 months more than 28 tons of rechargeable batteries have been collected and effectively reduced pollution risks, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said Thursday.


Approximately 13 tons of rechargeable batteries were collected in the first year starting in March 2005 when Hong Kong launched a program to recover them, said Lawrence Wong, an official with the Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR government.


The batteries were taken to a treatment facility in the Republic of Korea for recycling in April this year, he explained, when releasing the program's first annual report.


"For the past seven months ending in October we collected more than 15 tons of rechargeable batteries,” he said. “They’re scheduled for shipment to the recycling facility by December. We’re optimistic about meeting the 10 percent recovery target by March 2007." 


Hong Kong produced about 250 tons of rechargeable batteries annually and most of them ended up in landfills through environmentally-friendly measures.


"The batteries contain valuable materials that can be reused as stainless steel and magnetic alloy," Wong said. He noted the program demonstrated that the recovery of batteries was feasible in Hong Kong


At present some 650 public collection points have been set up across Hong Kong in places such as railway stations, restaurants, electronic equipment shops, oil stations and convenience stores.


Anyone can deposit their rechargeable batteries in the specially-designed bins and boxes or hand them in at the counter. In addition more than 840 housing estates, 200 commercial/industrial buildings and 170 schools also provide collection services.  


The recovery program is funded by 36 manufacturers and importers of the batteries and electronic equipment. The Environmental Protection Department acted as the focal point to help the industry implement the program under a voluntary producer responsibility scheme.


"It’s encouraging to see that major waste producers including the Customs and Excise Department, China Light and Power Limited, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation and Mass Transit Railway Corporation have already joined the program," Wong said.


"We’ll continue to appeal to companies including security firms and second hand mobile phone trading concerns which use, or keep a large amount of rechargeable batteries, to adopt the good practice," he said.


(Xinhua News Agency November 24, 2006)

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