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Waste Not, Want Not by Recycling

After a slow start, a government program to recycle electronic waste has picked up the pace in Shanghai.

More than 800 used computers, printers, facsimile machines and other waste electronic products have been handed in by five companies, government departments and individuals.

They will be recycled at the specially designed Shanghai Digital Waste Recycling Co Ltd station in Baoshan District, said Yang Guixing, who operates the facility.

The station was set up in June under a city government initiative to encourage proper disposal of waste electronic and electrical products, including cell phones and stereos.

But it failed to receive anything in its first month of operation, because the station doesn't pay contributors for the waste.

Instead, people choose to sell electronic waste to unlicensed street collectors or just simply discard it.

Such moves could lead to negative environmental and health effects as electronic products could contain hazardous substances like lead, mercury and cadmium. For example, lead and mercury can damage brains and nervous systems.

Electronic waste only began arriving at the center after local media reported that there had been no response to the new recycling station.

The program is calling for the city's government departments and government-sponsored institutions to join in. It also encourages companies and individuals to hand in their waste.

Shenyin & Wanguo Securities Co, Shanghai Jiulong Electric Power (Group) Co and Putuo District Public Security Bureau were among the first to hand in their waste computers.

Yang, the station manager, said now there are more than 10 telephone inquiries a day.

Some city government departments, including those of finance, education, environmental production and tourism, said they are also ready to join the program.

(Shanghai Daily September 10, 2007)

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