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February 20, 2014

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Firework recycling service fails to take off

A FREE firework-recycling service introduced a year ago by a local company has failed to attract a single customer.

Ahead of last year’s Spring Festival, state-owned Shanghai Jinqilin Fireworks Co, the city’s only legal fireworks dealer, nominated 16 of its shops as recycling points for unwanted and unused products.

The company said it introduced the service in response to media reports of the dangers of keeping unused fireworks in the home. While no refunds were offered for products returned, one store per city district was named as a collection point.

The free service was made available for two weeks after the end of the Lunar New Year holiday, while at other times of the year, people can return unused fireworks to the company’s main branch in Hongkou.

Despite failing to attract any customers in 2013, the service was repeated this year. But once again it fizzled out like a damp squib. Not a single firework has been handed in, the company said.

Despite the safety risks, people seem to prefer disposing of them by soaking them in water and just throwing them away, it said.

A pensioner surnamed Zhan said she was aware of the recycling service last year but didn’t use it because it wasn’t convenient. “I wouldn’t have minded giving away the unused fireworks for free, as long as someone came to my house to pick them up,” she said. “After all, they are dangerous.”

Zhan said she and her family decided not to have any fireworks this year in response to the government’s call for fewer pyrotechnic displays in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Many cities reduced the number of firework displays during this year’s Chinese New Year holiday.

As a result, Beijing reported “much better” air quality on January 30, the eve of the festival, with the average PM 2.5 reading down to between 140 and 160 micrograms per cubic meter, from more than 1,000 a year earlier.



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