One offshoot of these problems has been increased government interest in waste minimization initiatives. Because of scant public funding for these initiatives, Chinese regulators and policymakers have been monitoring, with interest, “extended producer responsibility” programs abroad.

Such programs place the end-of-life product management burden on the product producer—allegedly minimizing the amount of government financial and other resources required for such activities. Countries with extended producer responsibility programs that are being monitored (as model “cases”) by Chinese regulators and policymakers include: Canada, Germany, Japan, Denmark, Italy, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States (California). Much of this research will reportedly support ongoing legislative proposal development in the areas of clean production and electronics take back, among other things.

In addition to research at the legislative and policymaking levels in China, a number of citizen initiatives are underway that might serve as “models” for future, government-sponsored extended producer responsibility programs in China. These include the China Green Channel and Beijing Industrial Hazardous Waste Management Center initiative aimed at collecting, sorting, and recycling discarded information technology equipment from companies in the Beijing area.

The Green Channel program was described in CER summer 1999 issue, but has since encountered difficulties due to lack of consumer co-operation. Also worthy of note is the Beijing Municipal Education Bureau, China Environmental Education Center, and Beijing Municipal Waste Management Bureau’s campaign to recycle used batteries. This initiative seeks to increase citizen involvement (starting at the elementary school level) in recycling. Reportedly, more than 80 elementary schools are currently involved in the campaign.

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