South East CDC e-waste recycling programme may be extended to more areas

Volunteers, South East CDC staff and Panasonic staff at Marine Parade Community Club packing and sorting items collected yesterday under the e-waste recycling programme. -- ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Volunteers, South East CDC staff and Panasonic staff at Marine Parade Community Club packing and sorting items collected yesterday under the e-waste recycling programme. -- ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

A trial to collect and recycle disused electronics in one neighbourhood has surpassed initial expectations, with organisers looking to extend the campaign to more areas across Singapore later this year.

More than 6,800kg of electronic waste, or e-waste, was collected in the South East Community Development Council in five months - almost triple the initial target of 2,500kg for the six-month scheme.

The recycling programme, which started last July, has even been lengthened by an extra month as more households dispose of old appliances like computers, washing machines and fridges in time for Chinese New Year celebrations.

The e-waste is recycled by local firm Cimelia.

The campaign's sponsor, electronics giant Panasonic, will also donate energy-efficient light bulbs to 250 families living in one-room rental flats.

Talks are now under way to extend the scheme to more neighbourhoods within and beyond South East CDC, said Panasonic's environment executive, Ms Suzette Xu. More details will be announced in March.

Ms Xu said the recycling and re-use programme is also about "roping in the rest of the community to be environmentally friendly and do good".

South East CDC general manager Kia Siang Wei hopes the programme will not be one-off but sustainable enough to get more people to go green.

Students from schools, including Chung Cheng High School (Main) and Dunman High School, have visited 8,000 households to spread the message of recycling e-waste - which is classified as anything with a battery or a cord.

Surveys by the National Environment Agency (NEA), which also helps to run the recycling programme, show that Singapore households throw away 30,000 tonnes of appliances a year. Another 30,000 tonnes of e-waste come from commercial and industrial sources. Marina Parade resident Tan Wu Cheng, 74, who has recycled bulky electronics like an old amplifier set, said Singaporeans usually dispose of their old appliances in rubbish bins or recycle through the rag-and-bone men.

The book publisher said: "More residents will be more civic-conscious if the e-waste collection bins are made more convenient."

jermync@sph.com.sg