There has been talk on recycling e-waste in Singapore recently (Steps to shrink mountain of e-waste via better recycling; Jan 20).
However, as an average person trying to recycle old mobile phones and chargers, I have found it to be a difficult process.
From an Internet search, I discovered that I could go to any post office, obtain a special ReCycle envelope and post my unwanted phones and chargers for free.
I recently went to the Singapore Post outlet at Clementi Mall.
My request for the ReCycle envelope was met with puzzlement by the staff. Upon further query, I was directed to another staff member who gave me the envelope.
But, it was far too small for the many phones and chargers I had.
Since the post office staff did not have another envelope and could not propose any other solution, I decided to go to the Singtel and StarHub shops in the mall instead.
In both places, the staff were initially puzzled, then told me they did not accept e-waste in that branch and they could not dispatch it to the relevant outlet internally.
In the end, I returned to the post office, asked for a bigger, normal envelope that could fit everything, then pasted the ReCycle envelope on top in order to post it.
This request was flatly refused at first. It was only when I persisted that it was finally acceded to.
In all three places, the lack of help, interest and initiative to propose alternatives were striking.
In order for recycling to be successful, frontline staff need to be properly trained and informed.
The information posted on these organisations' websites gave me the impression that recycling old mobile phones would be simple. My experience, however, has been disappointing. I hope the situation can be rectified soon so that others will not be discouraged from recycling their e-waste.
Lee Siew Yeen