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China: Regulations on Recycling Electronic Waste

(Sept. 5, 2008) On August 20, 2008, after years of debate on the issue, China's State Council (Cabinet) Standing Committee approved in principle the draft Regulations on the Administration of Recycling and Treatment of Discarded Appliances and Electronic Products. The Regulations stipulate that the government will establish a mechanism to encourage recycling and centralized treatment of electronic waste, to be financed by a special fund. They also specify the responsibilities of manufacturers, retailers, repair and customer service providers, recycling companies, and disposal enterprises in regard to the collection and treatment of such material. Electronic waste includes, among other products, “used television sets, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and computers.” (China to Regulate Recycling of Electronic Waste, CHINA VIEW, Aug. 21, 2008, available at; State Council Standing Committee Deliberates Opinions on Promoting Ningxia [Autonomous Region] Economic and Social Development and Other Matters (in Chinese), The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China website, Aug. 20, 2008, available at

The draft Regulations were preceded by provisions issued in September 2007 as Order No. 40 of the State Environmental Protection Administration, the Administrative Measures for the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Electronic Waste, which went into effect on February 1, 2008. The five chapters of these Measures encompass general provisions; responsibilities of relevant parties (including producers); supervision and administration of dismantling, utilization and disposal; penalty provisions; and supplementary provisions. The latter include definitions of several terms, among them “electronic waste.” Because as of this writing the text of the new Regulations was not readily available, it is unclear whether they will entirely supersede the Measures. (China E-Waste Regulation Translation (PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT), GOLIATH website, (last visited Sept. 4, 2008); Administrative Measures for the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Electronic Waste [in effect Feb. 1, 2008], FAOLEX [Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations] Legal Database, (last visited Sept. 4, 2008).)