The dumping of more than two million mobile phone batteries in landfills each year could be avoided if the phone industry agrees to fund a $1 million-a-year scheme to recycle them overseas. The government proposal, the first of its kind for electronic product waste in the SAR, will be submitted to the industry for consultation soon. A fund would be used to finance collection of old batteries which would be sent for recycling in Europe or Southeast Asia. Recycling would remove cadmium, a toxic and carcinogenic metal, nickel and other metals and chemicals. The by-products would then be disposed of or reused. Currently, batteries usually end up in SAR landfills - which will be full in 10 years. The scheme would be paid for out of a percentage of sales from mobile phone retailers and network operators. It has been estimated the fund would need at most $1 million a year. Collection boxes for the batteries would be placed at retail outlets across Hong Kong. Lawrence Wong Tung-kwong, Principal Environmental Protection Officer, said the fund was needed because there was no battery recycling operator in Hong Kong. He said the scheme could be extended to other electronic waste such as used computers and electrical appliances. Two to three million old phone batteries are dumped in Hong Kong each year. Nokia, Smartone and Siemens said they would not comment until they had seen the government proposal. There are more than 5.5 million mobile phones in the SAR.