More bins for recycling old cellphones, laptops and other electronic waste

An employee dismantling electronics at home-grown electronic waste recycling firm TES-AMM’s recycling plant near Joo Koon. Over 5,600kg of electronic waste has been collected so far this year. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
An employee dismantling electronics at home-grown electronic waste recycling firm TES-AMM’s recycling plant near Joo Koon. Over 5,600kg of electronic waste has been collected so far this year. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Three firms tie up to expand electronic waste recycling scheme

Getting a new mobile phone and already have a cupboard-full of old ones?

People who want to recycle their mobile phones, laptops, lithium-ion batteries, set-top boxes and other electronic waste will have more places to do so by the end of the year.

A new partnership between three firms here is expected to lead to over 100 bins islandwide to collect the waste for free.

Hundreds of bins are planned in the next two to three years, and they are expected to be in malls, major office and government buildings, community clubs and schools.

The three firms - StarHub, DHL Express and home-grown electronic waste recycling firm TES-AMM - signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday to expand Singapore's first e-waste recycling programme.

Started in March 2012 by StarHub and TES-AMM, the programme now has bins in 30 locations, including schools, condominiums and malls.

Almost 2,700kg of waste was collected from April to December 2012.

After more bins were installed, the figure rose to more than 6,500kg for last year. More than 5,600kg has been collected so far this year.

However, the recycled waste is still a minuscule fraction of the 60,000 tonnes of electronic waste discarded here each year, about half of which is from households and the rest, from industry.

Under the new partnership, StarHub will arrange for the bins to be installed. DHL will manage the collection of the waste and its delivery to TES-AMM, which will recycle the electronics.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, the guest of honour at the ceremony yesterday, noted that incinerating electronic waste pollutes the environment and squanders the reusable materials. "I urge all Singaporeans to think before we throw away, especially our electronic waste. It is actually too precious a resource to be sent for incineration," he said.

zengkun@sph.com.sg

For a list of the bins' locations, go to www.starhub.com/eco