Updated at 5.37pm: The government would draw on overseas experience to draft legislation for reducing electronic waste in Hong Kong, Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao Sau-tung said on Wednesday. Electronic Waste ? or e-waste ? describes old electronic appliances past their use-by date. It includes items such as computers, electronics and mobile phones disposed of by their original owners. The growth of e-waste in Hong Kong and China has become an issue of considerable concern in recent years. Dr Liao was replying a question in the Legislative Council by DAB legislator Choy So-yuk, who represents the Hong Kong Island constituency. Ms Choy asked the government whether it would follow two directives on electronic waste management due to be implemented by the European Union (EU) this August and in July 2006. The EU will implement the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. It will require producers to be responsible for the collection, treatment, recovery and disposal of most electrical and electronic equipment imported into member states after August 2005. From July 1, 2006, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive will take effect. It requires producers to ensure electrical and electronic equipment they place on the market does not contain six hazardous substances including lead, mercury and cadmium, unless the elimination or substitution of the substance is technically or scientifically impracticable. Dr Liao said the government was working on a ?product-responsibility scheme? which shared the spirit of the directives proposed by the EU. She said the Environmental Protection Department launched a study in March on introducing the scheme. It required manufacturers and distributors to be responsible for recycling arrangements for products. ?Under the scheme, the producers, importers, retailers and consumers should share the responsibility for the proper handling of products at the post-consumption stage, with a view to reducing waste and raising the recovery rate,? she explained. Dr Liao said the department had drawn on overseas experience in drawing up the scheme. It had also assessed the cost-effectiveness, as well as the impact on the industry and stakeholders. She said the government would further study the scheme and consult the public. ?The department will continue to monitor the trend of policy development in this aspect among the international community in order to consider the need for introducing similar regulations in Hong Kong,? said Dr Liao. Government figures show more than 60,000 tonnes of electronic waste have been disposed of at landfills in Hong Kong over the past three years. Environmental groups are particularly concerned about the increasing amount of electronic waste accumulated in the territory for re-export to China. In March, Greenpeace found that hazardous electronic waste stored for illegal re-export to the mainland had contaminated Hong Kong soil. They found two out of three soil samples collected in two sites in the New Territories contained 51 milligrams and 142mg of lead in 1kg of soil. The readings were five to 10 times higher than background levels of lead in uncontaminated soil, which typically contains less than 10mg-30mg of lead in 1kg of soil, the group said.