Going Green at Home: Recycling Electronics

Posted: Jul 29 2016Last Updated: Jul 29 2016
29 July 2016 - To leave an indelible mark upon the lives of others is normally viewed as a noble and fulfilling endeavor. However, the converse is true when it comes to the subject of our carbon footprint. The less of an imprint we make, the larger our positive impact upon the lives of those around us. If you are unaware of ways to reduce your carbon footprint, the notion itself might seem a daunting task. This article will provide you with a few pointers on reducing your carbon footprint in Hong Kong, with a focus on reducing electronic waste, and how the Government can help. 
Fluorescent Lamps
In Hong Kong, there are a multitude of government funded initiatives that one can take advantage of to reduce their carbon footprint. One of these programs involves fluorescent lamps, a comparatively cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional, incandescent bulbs. To preface, fluorescent lamps may initially be more expensive compared to incandescent light bulbs, however, their considerably longer lifespan, higher energy efficiency, better light distribution, and better conservation of heat energy makes them an  economically and environmentally superior alternative in the long term. 
Though fluorescent lamps are more environmentally friendly than incandescent lamps in life, in ‘death’ the mercury present within them still presents a potentially hazardous problem. However, this is where the government has you covered. The government has a Fluorescent Lamp Recycling Program, which aims to collect disposed fluorescent lamps throughout Hong Kong to safely recycle and dispose of bulb components. Click here to inform yourself of collection areas and schedules.
Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries sound environmentally friendly enough but while they are much more environmentally friendly than their non-rechargeable counterparts, their integrity and power charge degrades with subsequent recharges, and eventually you will need to throw them in the bin just as you do with non-rechargeable batteries. Like fluorescent lamps, there are not only environmentally hazardous, but one does not want to fully dispose of the battery because the battery itself contains some recyclable components (i.e. the magnetic alloy and stainless steel present in many rechargeable batteries).  In addition, like fluorescent bulbs, the government also has an associated recycling program: The Rechargeable Battery Disposal Program, where you can dispose of rechargeable batteries at 600 public collection points, ranging from 7-Eleven shops to the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong. Click here to find out the exact locations.
General Electronics
If you have a computer, fridge, a cellphone, rice cookers, or any other assortment of electronics whose categorization does not fall under the aforementioned categories, the government’s amusedly labelled WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipments) Recycling Program might be the answer to your disposal problems. Whatever the program does not recycle, it repairs and donates to the needy. Click here to find collection locations for the WEEE program. To inquire further about the types of electronics covered by the program, you can contact the Environmental Protection Department at: 2838 3111.
Alternatively, assuming you are leaving Hong Kong or simply looking to upgrade to more advanced appliances, you can post your old electronics on community sites like Asiaxpat or Hong Kong Second Hand Exchange and potentially get some money back on your initial investment. Just be sure to do so well in advance of your moving date to avoid any associated stress.
Hopefully this article has given you some insight as to what official avenues are open to aid you in your recycling endeavors. Stay tuned for more articles on how to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle in a city like Hong Kong! It’s easier than you think! 

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