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Thursday, December 04, 2003
Taiwan to recycle discarded CDs by middle next year

Taiwan, the largest manufacturer of compact discs in the world, will begin to recycle this product as early as next July, when required regulations have been established.

Officials from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday were criticized by legislators for their lax efforts to recycle compact discs, which are composed of plastic materials and diverse metals, including aluminum, gold, silver and titanium.

According to legislators, Taiwan produces 5.5 billion compact discs annually, including 4.7 billion discs for overseas markets. Common compact discs are classified into read-only memory (CD-ROM), recordable disc (CD-R) and rewritable disc (CD-RW).

If compact discs are dumped at landfills, soil and groundwater would be polluted by heavy metals. In addition, burning compact discs containing plastic materials in incinerators might produce the dangerous chemical dioxin.

The EPA had entrusted the Industrial Technology Research Institute with conducting a feasibility study on recycling compact discs. The final report will be completed by the end of this year.

But according to a preliminary study by an institute, which estimates that discs have a 4-year lifespan and a 2 percent damage rate during the recording process, about 60 million compact discs weighing 990 tonnes are discarded annually in Taiwan. This conservative estimation excludes discs with defects discarded by the manufacturing sector.

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