Toxic Trade News / 26 December 2006
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PC makers go for recycling
by Zhu Shenshen, Shanghai Daily
26 December 2006 – Personal computer makers, including Dell Inc and Lenovo Group Ltd, have decided to recycle for free all products sold in China's mainland because of concerns over environmental issues.

It's the first time that IT companies have taken responsibility for the recycling of used or broken products in the mainland, the world's biggest consumer electronic market.

Lenovo, China's No. 1 PC maker, said on Monday it has started to recycle all products sold in the Chinese mainland starting from yesterday, which include Lenovo-branded computers and Thinkpad laptops.

Owners can send the used products to Lenovo's locations or call Lenovo for a pick up from homes or offices. Lenovo pays a government-authorized firm to recycle the e-waste.

Dell Inc, the world's No. 1 PC maker, also said last week it is offering to recycle its products sold in the mainland free of charge.

The Chinese mainland computer recycling industry is in disorder because many small-size firms use unprofessional chemical methods to recycle or refurbish the machines, which often leave behind contaminants which hurt the environment, industry insiders said.

Since 2003, for which latest figures are available, China's mainland has been producing 1.1 million tons of electronic waste annually, including five million televisions, five million refrigerators, five million computers and more than 10 million mobile phones but the manufacturers of these products did not recycle them.

"It is a nice way to improve corporate image and it is a positive response to the coming (electronic waste control) policy," said Lu Yu, an analyst at Beijing-based CCID Consulting, a research firm under the Ministry of Information Industry.

The Chinese government plans to make producers, distributors and users of domestic appliances and electronic products responsible for the growing amount of high-tech junk they produce. The related policy will take effect as early as next March, MII said.

Decades of strong economic growth have ravaged China mainland's environment.

Under Dell's program, it will offer to pack and test old computer equipment to determine whether it can be resold to another user. If the equipment meets certain specifications, it will be resold with the proceeds going to the original user. The service is only available to enterprise users in the mainland, Dell said in a statement.

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