SEOUL--South Korea, one of the world's biggest electronics exporting and consuming countries, will broaden requirements for electronic waste recovery and recycling to large retailers under a revised law starting in January 2012, Ministry of Environment officials said April 18.
The latest amendment (Law No. 10549) of the Act on Resource Recycling of Electrical and Electronic Products and Automobiles will bring electronics retailers into the existing resource recycling regime, said Ryu Yon-ki, director at the ministry's Resource Recycling Division.
Currently, only manufacturers and importers are covered by the law, which has been in force since January 2008, to meet “extended producer requirement (EPR)” quotas for e-waste take-back.
These recycling quotas are set for 10 types of consumer electronics, including home appliances, mobile phones, and personal computers and printers. For instance, the mandatory recycling quotas for televisions and handsets were 19 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively, in 2010. Surcharges are imposed for unmet portions of EPR quotas.
Mainstream consumer electronics sales channels are shifting from producers and importers to large retailers in South Korea, while 95 percent of all cell phones are sold through telecommunications carriers rather than manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. Nevertheless, the take-back ratio of e-waste at retailers is very low, compared to producers, the ministry said.
According to the ministry's per-capita estimates, 11.5 kilograms (25.4 pounds) of e-waste were generated for every South Korean in 2010, while 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds), or 21.7 percent, were recycled. By comparison, the European Union's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive enforces a collection target of 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) per person.
Before the amendment takes effect Jan. 4, 2012, the ministry will work out formulas to assign different e-waste recycling quotas to different types of retailers. For cell phone network operators, recycling quotas will be adjusted for sizable amounts of used phones that are exported to other countries.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy announced April 15 the launch of the Korea Urban Mining Association as an industry partner to the government's effort to increase the collection and recycling of precious elements and rare-earth metals deposited in e-waste, scrapped automobiles, and workplace waste.
About 40 companies will participate in the urban mining team effort, including LS-Nikko Copper Inc., a Korean-Japanese smelting company, and Korea Zinc Co., the word's biggest producer of refined zinc.
The Ministry of Knowledge Economy estimates that roughly $4 billion worth of valuable metals are generated annually in South Korea as part of electronic, automotive, and workplace waste.
By James Lim
Full text of the amendment of the Act on Resource Recycling of Electrical and Electronic Products and Automobiles is available, in Korean, at http://tinyurl.com/3rgd5yh.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)