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Taiwan asks manufacturers to boost cellphone recycling rates

Only 12% of phones are recycled annually, despite 6 million in sales a year

 (Unsplash, Eirik Solheim photo)

 (Unsplash, Eirik Solheim photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Mobile phone manufacturers and retailers in Taiwan will soon be obligated to play a crucial role in recycling them, contributing to improved waste management and resource utilization.

The Resource Circulation Administration (RCA) published a draft regulation on Thursday (Nov. 9) that outlines mandatory measures for cellphone providers to enhance recycling rates. The rules are currently open for a 60-day public consultation period and are scheduled to come into effect on April 1, 2024.

The requirements encompass clear labeling to promote recycling, the establishment of dedicated recycling facilities, and the implementation of measures to foster a circular economy for used mobile devices. Both domestic phone manufacturers and importers of foreign handset brands will be subject to these regulations.

Given that mobile phones contain valuable metals that, when properly recycled, can contribute to energy and resource conservation, these regulations are crucial. Despite Taiwan's annual sale of six million cellphones, the current recycling rate is a mere 12%, according to RAC. The new rules aim to increase this rate to 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

A survey conducted by the Ministry of Environment revealed that over 50% of respondents admitted to not recycling their unused cellphones. Reasons cited included a lack of information about recycling sites and incentives, along with concerns about the potential leakage of personal data.