Home Appliances

Why is it important to recycle large home appliances properly?

Large home appliances might contains hazardous components that are harmful to the environment or human health if not properly treated or disposed of, for example, the refrigerant in air conditioners and refrigerators. They also contain materials such as metals and plastics which should not be wasted.

Ways to reduce home appliances waste

    • When you are considering buying a large home appliance, see if you can find a second-hand alternative on platforms like Facebook Marketplace or dedicated FB pages, Carousell, and craigslist HK. You can always find products in good condition at a cheaper price!
    • Find out if it’s repairable before throwing it away. Contact the manufacturer or check out the FB page Repair Cafe Hong Kong. HKUST students and faculty can check out REMAKE Repair Parties.
    • Make sure you take good care of your appliances. Read the manual carefully when you purchase an item and follow the instructions carefully. 

Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS)

Around 70,000 tonnes of Waste Electrical and Electronic Waste (WEEE) is generated annually in HK. In order to facilitate proper recycling of WEEE, on August 1, 2018, the PRS on WEEE (WPRS) was fully implemented for regulated electrical equipment (REE). REE items include washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners, televisions, computers, printers, scanners and monitors. All suppliers of these items must be registered with the EPD, and will pay a recycling levy as well as arrange for the free disposal of the customers used item (if applicable). 

Ways to Recycle Home Appliances

ALBA E-waste Collection and Donation Service (REE only)

ALBA IWS owns a government-contracted recycling facility that provides a one-stop service for e-waste collection and recycling. They only accept REE (see above). To use their service, you can:

  1. Request a free on-site collection service anywhere in Hong Kong. Please find the details here
  2. Bring your electronic appliances to their Regional Collection Centres
E-waste Collection Vehicle

The E-waste Collection Vehicle stations in 18 districts on a rolling basis on Saturdays and Sundays on a rolling basis to collect e-waste from the public, and offer education and activities to promote E-waste recycling. They collect any type of E-waste items including large and small home appliances and computers, as well as fluorescent lamps and rechargeable batteries. The schedule of the E-waste Collection Vehicles is updated regularly here

Community Recycling Centres

The public can bring waste plastics, glass containers, non-regulated household appliances and regulated (REE) waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), rechargeable batteries (excluding car batteries), fluorescent lamps, paper and metals to local collection outlets. Click here to find the closest Community Recycling Centre near you. You may receive a small souvenir or daily commodity after recycling a certain amount.

Statutory Free Removal Service (REE only)

Upon purchase of a new regulated electrical equipment item (see above), you can request a free removal service of the used item of the same class arranged by the seller regardless of whether that item was purchased at the same store. 

Community Green Stations

Community Green Stations assist local communities in the collection of recyclables, including home appliances. Such stations will organise recyclables collection sessions within the neighborhood on a regular basis, and you can drop off your unwanted applicances for recycling. Please click here to find the Community Green Station in your community. They also offer education and activities to encourage correct recycling behaviour and reduction.

Batteries

We all know it’s bad to throw away batteries, because

    • Batteries contain valuable metals like nickel, iron, and cobalt, which can be used for a variety of materials such as magnet alloy and stainless steel. 
    • Batteries might contain chemicals that are toxic to the environment, such as mercury, cadmium, and lead. Inappropriate handling of batteries might lead to the leakage of such chemicals in soil and water, which is harmful to humans, animals and nature.

Why should you choose rechargeable batteries?

    • Rechargeable batteries can be recharged up to 500-1000 times, which means that you can save a lot of money buying rechargeable batteries over single-use batteries.
    • Rechargeable batteries are recyclable and therefore create less waste than single-use disposable batteries which are not recyclable in Hong Kong. The government says that it isn’t necessary to recycle disposable batteries because there are fewer economic and environmental benefits when compared to recycling rechargeable batteries. This may be true, but disposable batteries should not be disposed of in landfill or incinerated, and should be collected for separate disposal, if not recycling.

Tips on using batteries

Choosing batteries

  • Choose rechargeable over single-use disposable batteries.
  • If your only option is single-use batteries, choose those that are mercury- and cadmium-free.

 

Storing batteries

  • Store batteries in a cool, dry place as high temperatures and high humidity will cause condensation, corrosion and leakage.
  • Avoid contact of batteries with metallic objects such as keys and coins as they may short-circuit the batteries.

Using batteries

  • Avoid mixing different types of batteries, and batteries of different ages. Batteries of different types have their own capacity and discharge rates. Mixing them together can cause damage to your device and the batteries, and can shorten the battery life.

How and where to recycle rechargeable batteries?

How To Recycle Your Rechargeable Batteries
  • Cover the battery terminal with masking tape.
  • Put damaged batteries into a sealed plastic bag before depositing them in a recycling receptacle.
Rechargeable Battery Recycling Programme (RBRP)

The RBRP is a voluntary Producer Responsibility programme, set up and funded by the industry to collect and recover rechargeable batteries in Hong Kong. The programme accepts three types of rechargeable batteries that are common in household use:  Li-ion, Ni-MH and Ni-Cd.

Click here to find out how to recycle and where their collection points are.

Community Green Stations

Community Green Stations assist local communities in the collection of recyclables including rechargeable batteries. These stations will organise recyclables collection sessions within the neighbourhood on a regular basis. Please click here to find out the Community Green Station in your community, and to find out what else they collect for recycling. 

Hong Kong Lead Acid Battery Recycling Centre

Hong Kong Battery Recycling Centre (HKBR) provides final disposal and fully integrated recycling solution for waste lead acid batteries (WLAB) generated in Hong Kong. Currently, HKBR only treats lead acid batteries (LAB). LAB are commonly used in vehicles and large facilities like data centres and medical institutions. They are comprised of lead, acid and plastic, both of which are recyclable.

For individuals, how to make sure that your car battery is being disposed of responsibly?
When you have your car batteries replaced, check if your service provider has registered with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) as a chemical waste producer (CWP) under the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO). This will ensure that they will handle and arrange to dispose of the WLABs in a proper manner. If you are interested, the facility offers tours to the public. Find out more at the link above.

Community Recycling Centres

The public can bring waste plastics, glass containers, non-regulated household appliances and regulated waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), rechargeable batteries (excluding car batteries), fluorescent lamps, paper and metals to local collection outlets. Click here to find the closest Community Recycling Centre near you.

Relevant episodes

Computers

Why is it important to recycle old computers?

  • Rich resource of raw materials
    By recycling computers properly, the materials can be recovered and remanufactured into other products, thus avoiding overexploitation of natural resources such as copper, gold and aluminium, as well as plastic.
  • Environmental cost to produce computers
    The extraction, refinement, and manufacturing processes of transforming raw materials into computers have a big impact on the environment. By recycling, energy and water usage are reduced, as is the production of CO2.
  • Hazardous waste
    Just like most electronic products, laptops contain toxic chemicals like lead, mercury and chromium. Proper handling of computers is critical to the environment as it ensures that these hazardous chemicals are not released into the environment.

What are your options with unwanted computers?

Donate

Caritas Computer Workshop

Caritas Computer Workshop receives donations of computers or computer accessories in all conditions. Based on the condition of the item, they will either refurbish it and provide it to people in need at desirable prices, or dismantle it and send it to EPD-registered recyclers for proper handling. They have provided over 4,200 computers or digital products every year to people in need in Hong Kong. 

Ways to donate:

GoodCity.HK

GoodCity.HK is an app and service created by the Crossroads Foundation that provides a platform for city-wide charitable goods donations. Computers are listed as their top 10 most needed items. They also accept a wide range of items as long as they are in good condition. The donations are made towards a range of groups/individuals in need including rehabilitation services, social enterprises and families in need.

To make a donation, simply access their app here, take a photo of the item, and write a short description for the product. You will then be contacted by the reviewer for further information.

Recycle

ALBA E-waste Collection and Donation Service

ALBA IWS owns a government-contracted recycling facility that provides a one-stop service for E-waste collection and recycling. To use their service, you could either

  1. Request a free on-site collection service anywhere in Hong Kong. Please find the details here
  2. Bring your electronic appliances to their Regional Collection Centres
Computer and Communication Products Recycling Programme (CCRP)

The CCRP is a voluntary Producer Responsibility Scheme which collects used computer equipment and communication products for refurbishment and recycling. The CCRP has cooperated with charitable organisations to help refurbish the equipment and pass it on to those in need. They also work with commercial recyclers to dismantle computer parts and recover useful materials. 

Click here to find out how to participate in this programme.

Community Green Stations

Community Green Stations assists local communities in the collection of recyclables including computers. Such stations will organise recyclables collection sessions within the neighborhood on a regular basis, and the public can drop off their unwanted computer and related electrical equipment at the Community Green Stations.

Please click here to find out the Community Green Stations in your community.

E-waste Collection Vehicle

The E-waste Collection Vehicle stations in 18 districts on a rolling basis on Saturdays and Sundays on a rolling basis to collect e-waste from the public. The schedule of the E-waste Collection Vehicles is updated regularly here.

Through Retailers

Statutory Free Removal Service

Upon purchase of a new computer or home appliances, you could arrange a free removal service of the used item of the same type of equipment arranged by the seller regardless of whether that item is purchased at the same store. Here is a list of participating sellers.

Trade-in Programmes

Some tech brands provide trade-in programmes for their own products. You could trade in your eligible device for a coupon or gift card for the next purchase. Policies differ from brand to brand.  As of 2020, brands that provide such trade-in services in Hong Kong are Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Samsung.

Relevant episodes

Printer Ink and Toner Cartridges 

Why is it important to recycle printer cartridges?

According to a survey conducted by Greeners Action, there are over 2 million printer cartridges  disposed of every year in Hong Kong, most of which end up in landfill. However, some cartridges and toners are reusable up to three to five times on average. By reusing and recycling printer cartridges appropriately, we will not only save the natural resources used to produce such items but reduce the hazardous effect leaked printer ink has on the surrounding environment.

But first, check if the cartridge is actually used up yet…

Here are a few tips to increase the lifespan of your printer and toner cartridges:

  • Shake it –  toner cartridges contains powder that might get clogged up over time. You could unclog and redistribute the power evenly by removing the cartridge, covering it with a paper towel, and shaking it.
  • Low ink warning ≠ no ink – when you get a low ink warning, don’t panic! The cartridge can still last for quite a long time when you get a low ink warning. Replace only when there are signs of ink running low like faded text.
  • Double-check the nozzle – sometimes faded text does not indicate that the ink is running low. A clogged printer nozzle is also a possible reason when your document becames faint. Soak the nozzle in warm distilled water, wipe it dry with a cloth, and put it back in the printer. Your printer might work again! (Always read product information first.)

How to recycle printer cartridges and toners?

If you have large quantities of them

Printer Cartridge Recycling Programme (15 cartridges or above)

The Printer Cartridge Recycling Programme is organised by Greeners Action, a local charitable environmental group that promotes protecting the environment through policy lobbying, education, and recycling initiatives. They will arrange for your cartridges to be collected by a company who will evaluate the condition, to determine whether they can be refurbished and refilled for resale. For those that cannot be reused, the cartridges will be disassembled for proper recycling.

How to participate

  • Determine if they will accept your cartridge by checking their photo references here.
  • Call or email them to schedule a pick-up service. Please find the contact details here.
Toner & Ink Cartridges Recycling & Reuse Programme (10 cartridges or above)

FoE(HK) started the “Toner & Ink Cartridges Recycling & Reuse Programme” in December 2011. Used printer cartridges will be refilled or recycled depending on their condition. They accept all types of toner and ink cartridges (laser/inkjet).

How to participate

Fill in an online form and they will arrange a collection service in around 15 working days (Collection service is unavailable to outlying islands and remote areas).

If you only have a few

Producer Programmes

Some printer brands provide recycle programmes for their cartridges.  As of 2020, brands that provide such services in Hong Kong are: 

  • Canon 1 or more toner cartridges for drop-off in Tsim Sha Tsui, 2 or more for pick-up
  • HP : 1 or more toner cartridges for drop-off, 4 – 9 for pick-up (2 ink cartridges = 1 toner)
  • Brother 5 or more toner cartridges or 10 or more ink cartridges for pick-up
  • Check with your local computer store to see if they accept printer cartridges
Community Green Stations

Community Green Stations assist local communities in the collection of recyclables. These stations will organise recyclables collection sessions within the neighbourhood on a regular basis. Please click here to find out the Community Green Stations in your community and check with the individual stations in your area to see if they accept ink and toner cartridges.

Fluorescent lamps

Why is it important to recycle fluorescent lamps?

Fluorescent lamps contain small amounts of mercury, which is hazardous waste for the environment. To avoid the effect of mercury emission on the environment, we need to dispose of mercury-containing light bulbs in a proper manner so the mercury and other useful material can be recycled and reused.

What’s the Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Programme(FLRP)?

The FLRP was launched in 2008 and it is funded by 11 members of the lighting trade, with the support of the EPD. The programme aims at providing households with free collection and treatment for all used mercury-containing lamps. The type of lamps they collect include compact fluorescent lamps, straight tube fluorescent lamps, fluorescent lamps of other shapes and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps. They recycle such lamps of all conditions, whether they broken or intact. Thay have collection points all over Hong Kong, in retail shops, housing estates and within the community.

Click here to find out more about the programme.

How to recycle fluorescent lamps?

  • For intact lamps: To avoid the lamps from breaking, please place the used lamps in the packaging of the new lamps before depositing them in the collection box. 
  • For broken lamps: Do not use regular floor vacuums to collect the fragments. Instead, wear latex gloves and carefully collect the pieces into a plastic bag. Use a damp disposable paper towel to clean up small fragment pieces and mercury drops. Keep the area ventilated to disperse any vapor that might escape and wash your hand carefully afterward. When dropping the broken lamp to the collection point, remember to keep it in a sealed plastic bag and remind the staff of the condition of the lamp. 

Where can I recycle my fluorescent lamps?

FLRP Public Collection Points

FLRP is working with lighting retail stores, household item stores such as Japan Home and Pricerite, and recycling centres to provide collection service for mercury-containing lamps. Please click here to find the closest collection point near you.

E-waste Collection Vehicle

The E-waste Collection Vehicle offers a drop off point in 18 districts on a rolling basis on Saturdays and Sundays to collect e-waste from the public. The schedule of the E-waste Collection Vehicles is updated regularly here.

FLRP Participating Housing Estates

FLRP also works with more than 1,400 housing estates to collect mercury-containing lamps at designated collection points. Please click here to find the closest collection point near you.

Community Green Stations

Community Green Stations assists local communities in the collection of recyclables. They will organise recyclables collection sessions within the neighbourhood on a regular basis. Please click here to find out the Community Green Stations in your community and check with the individual stations in your area to see if they accept fluorescent lamps.

Community Recycling Center

The public can bring fluorescent lamps, as well as waste plastics, glass containers, household appliances and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), rechargeable batteries (excluding waste car batteries), paper and metals to local collection outlets.  Click here to find the closest Community Recycling Centre near you.