Tue, Dec 02, 2014 - Page 3 News List

EPA amends toxic waste rule book

PAYING THE PRICE:Plants that reprocess electronic waste and are found to be causing leakages of toxic substances risk facing fines of up to NT$300,000

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday announced an amended version of the standard governing reprocessing facilities for the recycling, storage and disposal of discarded electronic devices and appliances, which stipulates rules for the handling of waste devices containing a range of toxic substances.

Under the amended rules, leakages of mercury, traditional refrigerants and fluorescent powder are now violations at facilities that recycle electronic waste.

EPA Recycling Fund Management Board division head Lee Chih-yi (李志怡) said that the aforementioned substances are commonly found in discarded electrical appliances and could pose a serious threat to the environment.

For example, mercury — commonly found in older monitors and television sets that use liquid crystal display screens containing cold cathode fluorescent tubes — is a major source of soil and water contamination, she said.

Traditional refrigerants, found in old air conditioners and refrigerators, damage the ozone layer, she said.

Even though nations around the world, including Taiwan, have banned the use of traditional refrigerants and modern televisions are mostly manufactured using light-emitting-diodes as their backlight, the two appliances accounted for a substantial proportion of discarded appliances to date, she said.

Regarding fluorescent powder, Lee said that it contains heavy metals, including zinc and cadmium, which pollute soil and water if not treated with caution. She added that television sets which are made with cathode ray tubes are common sources.

The amended regulations stipulate that components containing toxic substances dismantled from discarded electronic appliances and devices must be kept intact and delivered to qualified processing facilities.

Electronic waste reprocessing plants which are found to have leakages of the toxic substances in question risk a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000, according to Article 51 of the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), she said.

People needing to discard their old computers or printers can either hand them to workers at local environmental protection agencies, take the devices to Tsann Kuen branch stores — Taiwan’s largest electronics chain — or to official Hewlett-Packard distributors, Lee said.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top