Company Convicted In Illegal eWaste Collection, Storage and Handling

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      A recycling site operating company and its directors as well as the responsible persons of a further three recycling sites were prosecuted for illegal collection, storage and handling of hazardous electronic waste (e-waste), involving about 230 tonnes of waste printed circuit boards (PCBs) with the total market value of approximately $23 million. They were fined a total of $106,000 at Fanling Magistrates' Courts on March 6 and today (March 13) for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO) and the Waste Disposal (Chemical Waste) (General) Regulation.
      
     The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has all along been committed to combating illegal collection, storage and handling of chemical waste. In August last year, four recycling sites at Yau Cha Po Tsuen, Hung Uk Tsuen and Tai Dao Tsuen in Yuen Long as well as Shek Chung Au in Sha Tau Kok were caught by EPD staff for illegal handling of waste PCBs, which were classified as chemical waste.

It was found in the above sites that a large amount of chemical waste was not properly stored and no warning labels were displayed in accordance with the statutory requirements, posing risks to the environment and public health. Upon investigation and collection of evidence, the EPD subsequently prosecuted the relevant company and operators of these recycling sites.
      
     An EPD spokesman said, "Hazardous e-waste, including waste flat panel displays, waste lead-acid batteries and waste PCBs dismantled from electrical appliances are classified as chemical waste as they contain heavy metals (such as lead and mercury) and other toxic chemicals. Improper handling of such waste can cause harm to the environment and public health."
      
     The spokesman reminded all waste collectors, importers and exporters and operators of recycling sites that chemical waste producers should register with the EPD in accordance with the WDO and the Regulation.

Chemical waste must be properly packaged, labelled and stored, and has to be collected by licensed chemical waste collectors for delivery to licensed chemical waste disposal facilities for disposal. A valid permit has to be obtained from the EPD for importing or exporting such waste (including transshipment through Hong Kong). It is an offence for anyone to collect, store, dispose of, import or export chemical waste not according to the legal requirements. First-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months' imprisonment. For subsequent offences, offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $500,000 and two years' imprisonment.
      
     Members of the public may visit the EPD's website for more information about the control of chemical waste: http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/waste/guide_ref/guide_cwc.htm