Wed, May 09, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Scrap computer disposal fees, subsidies: lawmaker

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Chi-mai, third left, holds a press conference at the legislature in Taipei yesterday calling for subsidies for computer recyclers to be scrapped given the huge profits they make.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

The government should eliminate the practice of charging manufacturers for the recycling, clearance and disposal of desktop and laptop computers and subsidizing recycling companies, a lawmaker said yesterday.

As a measure to promote computer recycling, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been charging the fee for every computer manufactured in Taiwan and subsidizing certified recycling companies for years, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference.

The EPA charges manufacturers a disposal fee of NT$115 (US$3.92) and NT$39 for every desktop and laptop computer respectively and gives recycling companies NT$182 (desktop) and NT$303 (laptop), he said.

However, the recycling firms have made huge profits from reselling the computers — between NT$400 and NT$1,000 for each machine — because the prices of gold and copper that can be extracted from the computers has soared in recent years, Chen said.

The practice has allowed these companies to generate two types of income — from the subsidy and the resale, Chen said.

In 2010, these companies were able to generate resale profits of between NT$470 million and NT$1.8 billion, with 1.18 million desktop computers recycled that year, he said.

Chen proposed eliminating the disposal fee to lower computer prices and benefit consumers.

“The recycling companies won’t be making extravagant profits, but they would still be profitable,” he said.

Representatives of computer manufacturing companies from various counties and cities agreed with the proposal.

Chen Hung-yi (陳宏益), deputy executive secretary of the EPA’s Recycling Fund Management Board, said the policy was formulated at a time when the agency was keen on promoting the idea of recycling.

The table of fees, which is determined and regularly updated by an independent review panel, needs to be reviewed, he said.

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