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Green Bill May Target Electronics

Loretta Fong – Updated on Jul 13, 2008 – SCMP

Electrical appliances could be one of the next categories of goods targeted by the Eco-Product Responsibility Bill, the environment chief said yesterday.

The bill, which aims to provide a legal framework for manufacturer responsibility schemes, first set its sights on plastic bags, which are to be taxed by the middle of next year.

Speaking on an RTHK radio programme, Secretary for Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah said the administration would take into account the amount of pollution produced and the timeliness of a category of products when deciding which would be next regulated under the bill.

“With economic growth, consumer spending incentives will also increase. It is often quite common for people to dump electrical appliances,” he said.

Waste such as tyres and plastic containers were also on the list for consideration, he added.

Mr Yau also said the 50 cent tax on plastic bags would be implemented by the middle of next year. He said the government was still working out the details.

“Subsidiary legislation will be required when implementing the bill. We will use our time during the summer vacation before the next legislative term, so as to get ready for working out the details,” he said.

“And a working team will be formed for scrutinising the legislation in the new term. I hope the scrutiny will go fast and the bill will soon be implemented.”

On Thursday, lawmakers approved a 50 cent tax on bags handed out in stores.

Mr Yau said that at this stage it would be hard to estimate how many plastic bags would be saved every year as a result of the tax.

However, he said he hoped that through legislation it could help the public and business community gradually change their habits on the use of plastic bags.

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