SINGAPORE - A year-long campaign to turn e-trash into cash has resulted in organisers collecting more than four times the amount they had hoped for in used electronic devices.
The HP Make IT Green Campaign, which kicked off in January this year, had set a goal of collecting 50,000kg in used personal computers, laptops and display monitors at six community centres and 24 schools here.
So far, more than 200,000kg of e-waste has been collected for the campaign which will run till the end of this month.
With funds raised from selling refurbished devices, HP donated $50,000 to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF).
On Tuesday (Dec 4), Mr Lionel Chng, the managing director of HP Singapore, presented a cheque for the amount to Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English, Malay, Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times.
Mr Fernandez is also chairman of the fund, which provides pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school, and benefits about 10,000 children every year.
Mr Chng said the disposal of e-waste is not just about selling used electronic devices to recycling companies, but about ensuring that those companies are authorised, and have the ability to sanitise data and dispose devices in a safe and secure manner.
"We wanted to play a role in helping (students) understand better the dangers of e-waste, and the positives of e-waste recycling," said Mr Chng of the campaign's goal, which is to educate people on how to dispose of and recycle e-waste.
A survey by the National Environment Agency this year showed that 60 per cent of consumers were unsure of proper ways of disposing e-waste and only 6 per cent of e-waste was recycled.
More than 63,000 students took part in the campaign, which included a competition for students to design a Mech Robot, using components from used devices.
The fictional hero's job is to defeat the E-Waste Monster, a creature which had morphed from e-waste.
There were more than 271 entries, with entries from primary school pupils to tertiary students, and seven winners in total - from Clementi Primary School, Yu Neng Primary School, Tech Whye Primary School, Jurongville Secondary School, Republic Polytechnic and ITE College Central.
Republic Polytechnic's Lau Jia Xuan, 18, won the top prize in the tertiary category. She used solar panels for her robot design to tap energy from an environmentally friendly source.
In designing her robot, she first considered if it should incinerate e-waste but "realised it was bad for the environment, and changed (the design) to using storage instead".
On Tuesday, SPH employees donated their used PCs, laptops, monitors, chargers, keyboards and peripherals at the Make IT Green stall at the SPH News Centre in Toa Payoh North.
HP is pledging 100 per cent of the proceeds to the ST pocket money fund.