China recently approved long-awaited electronic-waste rules, but a product catalogue is pending
The State Council in early March released long-awaited rules governing the recycling and disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The new regulations, which, take effect January 1, 201 1, contain several new requirements for producers and importers, including new label and management requirements for producers. They also require producers to contribute to a special fund designed to offset costs of WEEE disposal and recycling. Though the State Council approved the rules in August 2008, Premier Wen Jiabao did not sign them until February 25, 2009. The long delay was likely due to the economic downturn and concern about the additional requirements that these new regulations place on WEEE manufacturers.
These new rules are not Chinas first to address the disposal and environmental pollution of electronic products. In September 2007, the PRC State Environmental Protection Administration, precursor to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), released measures designed to prevent and control environmental pollution caused by the use and disposal of electronic was te. Regulations governing WEEE show Chinas efforts to establish a framework for controlling the use and disposal of products to prevent environmental pollution, a framework first launched with the PRC Administrative Measures on the Control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products in 2007. Chinas developing regime for these products has many parallels with the European Union s rules for handling WEEE and restrictions on hazardous substances.
Full details of China's WEEE regime will not be finalized, however, until the release of the WEEE catalogue. Companies that produce, import, or use WEEE products should monitor the lead agencies involved for indications of the drafting or release of product catalogues.
China's new rules further delineate agency responsibilities and coordination, outline recycling and disposal requirements, add new labeling requirements, create a companycontributed disposal and recycling subsidy fund, and specify noncompliance penalties for WEEE.
PRC agency responsibilities Three PRC ministries will take primary …