Taiwan Anticipates Recycling 80,000 Cell Phones in October.
Aiming High for Sustainability
The Ministry of Environment in Taiwan has set an ambitious goal; to collect over 80,000 smartphones for recycling in its annual recycling initiative this October. This marks the fifth year of the campaign, which will involve over 13,500 stores across the country where citizens can conveniently drop off their old devices. To boost participation, incentives such as the chance to win the latest iPhone 15 have been included.
Shifting Focus to Recycling
Unlike the previous years that primarily focused on collecting the phones, the initiative will now emphasize recycling the devices. The ministry aims to reuse the heavy metals found in phones in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. Businesses that fail to meet the recycling objectives will face penalties, with fines ranging from NT$30,000 (US$931) to NT$150,000.
Addressing the Concerns of Data Privacy
The ministry is also taking into account public concerns about the disposal of private data on the returned devices. Measures to ensure secure data deletion are put in place to reassure the public and encourage more participation.
Gradual Increase in Collected Phones
Since its inception in 2019, the initiative has seen a gradual increase in the number of collected phones. In the first year, 23,000 phones were gathered, while 72,000 phones were collected in the subsequent year. In 2022, environmental campaigns have successfully collected 730,000 phones.
Higher Recycling Rate by 2030
The government aims to raise the recycling rate of mobile phones to 30 percent by 2030. Despite annually selling more than 6 million smartphones in Taiwan, only 12 percent were recycled last year, primarily due to their small sizes and higher markup prices. The ministry’s surveys also showed that consumers hesitate to recycle their smartphones due to concerns about personal information stored on the devices.
New Rules to Boost Recycling
To raise the mobile phone recycling rate, the ministry is drafting a set of rules that would require mobile phone importers and manufacturers to install more recycling facilities, assist mobile phone users in deleting personal data, and provide consumers with additional incentives to recycle. The ministry believes that recycling mobile phones would allow these substances to be reused and reduce the explosion risks of lithium batteries. Furthermore, about 220,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity would be conserved if 10,000 mobile phones were recycled, which would translate to a reduced carbon emission of about 140 tonnes.
As the world grapples with environmental issues, Taiwan’s commitment to recycling and sustainability is a laudable step in the right direction. The success of the campaign would not only contribute to a greener environment but also serve as an inspiration for other countries to adopt similar initiatives.
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