On March 30, 2021, one of China’s state-run think tanks, the Xinhua Outlook Research Institute, released its “2021 Annual Survey Report on Trade-in of Home Appliances”. In this report, it forecasts the future increase of waste electrical and electronic equipment in China，and reports on the recent situations of the home appliance industry. The main points of the report are as follows.
(1) In June 2009, in response to the global financial crisis, the trade-in incentive policy was launched in order to increase domestic demand and promote resource recycling. In the two years since then, 92.48 million new home appliances have been sold, drawing 342 billion yuan (about 5.7 trillion yen) in consumption.
(2) Now, the home appliance industry is facing a new opportunity to increase trade-ins. China has more than 2.1 billion home appliances, and in 2020 alone, 160 million home appliances will reach the end of their safe use years, posing safety and health risks. At the Executive Conference of the State Council of China held on November 18, 2020, it was proposed to implement a strategy to increase domestic demand, promote the consumption of home appliances and furniture, and encourage the elimination of old home appliances and subsidies for the purchase of smart home appliances in possible areas.
(3) According to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, as of the end of 2019, per 100 households in urban China owned 122.8 TV sets, 102.5 refrigerators, 148.3 air conditioners, 99.2 washing machines, 72.2 computers, 98.2 water heaters, and 81.7 range hoods. In rural areas, the figures are 117.6, 98.6, 71.3, 91.6, 27.5, 71.7, and 29 units, respectively. Many of these will be due for replacement in the future.
(4) In 2020, the China Household Electric Appliance Research Institute and the National Electric Appliance Industry Information Center jointly announced the “Safe Service Life for Household Electrical Appliances (Group Standard)”. According to the standard, home appliances sold with trade-in incentives have already reached the time when they should be replaced or will be replaced in the future. According to an estimate by the China Household Electrical Appliances Association, in 2020 alone, 160 million home appliances will reach the end of their safe use period, posing certain safety and health risks.
(5) The main recycling of home appliances in China is done by private collectors. There are two main recycling routes for waste home appliances: the first is to sell them on the second-hand market as used home appliances, and the second is to dismantle them by informal dismantlers, who take the usable parts and send the rest to landfills. According to statistics from China Home Appliance Net, regular dismantlers dismantle about 80 million home appliances a year. More than half of the waste home appliances go through illegal dismantling channels, posing a risk of toxic substance leakage.
(6) Many provinces, including Beijing and Shandong, are offering subsidies for trade-ins, and many home appliance manufacturers are participating in trade-in programs.