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Hong Kong’s first e-waste plant to be built by German recycling firm under multimillion-dollar deal

Shirley Zhao

May 9th 2015

A German recycling company has won a multimillion-dollar contract to build and operate Hong Kong’s first electronic waste recycling facility in Tuen Mun.

Alba Integrated Waste Solutions Hong Kong, a joint-venture subsidiary of the Alba Group, signed a 12-year contract with the government yesterday. It will spend two years building the plant and then operate the collection and recycling system in the city for the next 10 years.

In February, the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee approved the government’s request for HK$548.6 million to construct the system. The government will also fund the operation costs, which are based on the volume of e-waste collected and treated at the plant. Officials expect the bill will run to HK$200 million a year.

Axel Schweitzer, chief executive of Alba, said if the price of the recyclables did not fall during the 10-year period, the company would expect a turnover of about HK$2.5 billion over the decade. The recyclables would be mainly sold to mainland buyers.

“As a world-beating international metropolis, Hong Kong is responding proactively to the challenges of waste management and recycling,” said Schweitzer.

“We are confident that the project will make a substantial contribution to the city’s environmental management system and open a new chapter on its sustainable economic development.”

Schweitzer said the plant would be capable of processing 30,000 tonnes of waste a year but the capability could be extended to a maximum of 56,000 tonnes by arranging additional shifts as needed.

The company will also set up eight collection points and three recycling centres across the city. Schweitzer said residents could go to the centres and the plant to learn more about e-waste recycling.

The city produces about 70,000 tonnes of electronic waste a year.

The system will be in line with the government’s proposed “polluter pays” scheme, where importers or distributors of five categories of appliances – televisions, fridges, washing machines, computer products and air-conditioners – will have to pay a “recycling fee” to help fund disposal of the city’s electrical goods.

Customers who buy a new television, for example, will be able to request the retailer to arrange free removal of the old set.

The government says the level of the fees will be submitted to Legco for approval “in due course”.

Alba Integrated Waste Solutions comprises Alba Asia, Germany-based Erdwich Vertriebs and Hong Kong-based IWS Environmental Technologies.

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