Exhibition encourages consumers to recycle electronic products

Old computers, routers and even SIM cards can be recycled, not just paper and plastic. That was the message of an exhibition at Funan DigitaLife Mall on Saturday.

The four-day event called "Let's Not Forget About E-Waste", which ends on Sunday, is organised by four final year communications students from the Nanyang Technological University, in partnership with StarHub.

Visitors to the exhibition can drop off electronics for recycling, win prizes and pledge to recycle more.

Ms Grace Fu, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, and Foreign Affairs, who was the guest of honour at the exhibition on Saturday, said that electronic waste is one of the world's fastest growing types of waste.

"Many of us have multiple gadgets...we are also changing our gadgets even faster," she said. "As a small country, proper waste management and recycling is imperative for sustainable development," she said.

An online survey of 245 people aged 18 to 26 which the students did before the exhibition showed that the majority of respondents did not know what electronic products could be recycled, nor the existing avenues for e-waste recycling.

"We have a lot of gadgets cluttering our homes, and sometimes people don't want to throw them away because of the sentimental value, or they don't know that these items can be recycled," said Ms Kimberly Wang, 23, one of the student organisers. "Hopefully people can recycle their electronics and put them to better use without feeling like they're throwing them away."

StarHub said it has recycled over 10,000kg of e-waste since it began collecting it in 2012. Chief marketing officer Jeannie Ong said: "We are the provider of electronic services and products, so we have to be responsible and see how we can make it easier for people to recycle." The company currently has 38 collection bins at some schools, condominiums and stores.

People can drop off Hewlett-Packard printer cartridges and hardware products at the HP Service Centre at Alexandra Road, and old mobile phones at Nokia Care Centres in Harbourfront Centre and Causeway Point. Recycling company Cimelia Resource Recovery also collects items at its premises in Tuas.

Mr Chionh Choon Lee, 42, an IT manager who visited the exhibition while passing through Funan, said he had recycled old phones and keyboards in the past. "It's a good initiative, but it's not easy to find avenues to recycle electronics and electrical items. I hope there will be more collection points in more neighbourhoods," he said.

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