China’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) plan has been closely followed by industry insiders since its release in Jan 2017.
As an integral part of EPR, the fund management system of China waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) faces a number of issues after 6-year implementation, of which the most critical one is payment imbalance. China Appliance reporter learns from several waste disassembly enterprises that, the overdue subsidy of the past several quarters has amounted to some hundred million RMB for several enterprises, affecting their cash flow and disassembly work badly. “Each disassembled equipment means some loss of profit, let alone the pressure of cash flow. Now, we’re not sure of whether we should do it anymore.” An industry insider says. According to him, some weak enterprises have halted production while stronger ones expand their portfolio beyond subsidy-backed business to offset the negative influence of overdue payment.
According to the 2018 budgets released by 91 central government bodies on April 13th, Ministry of Ecology and Environment plans to allocate government-managed funds of 3.6 billion RMB, which is believed to be subsidies for the treatment of WEEE. The money could cushion the current pressure if allocated in time, but cannot radically solve the problem.
Therefore, it is urgent to build up a revenue-based allocation system, adjust the market entry threshold, evaluate the implementation and tweak the system based on the results. An officer from Ministry of Environmental Protection believes that, disassembly enterprises should develop their own operation modes rather than simply depend on subsidies, while the government refines the system.
Reclaiming is hard to manage in China’s EPR system. Most of the WEEE are reclaimed by individual operators going from street to street. China’s EPR pilot projects are exploring new modes of reclaiming. Distribution channel-based reclaiming system is one of the examples. With pilot stations set in commercial districts and transportation hubs, it makes the best use of China’s “Internet+” explorations to improve efficiency, and strengthen the connection between the garbage collection system and the waste recycling system in residential areas and office areas.