Four retailers hop on board e-waste recycling scheme

20 collection bins to be placed in Gain City, Best Denki, Courts, Harvey Norman outlets

Gain City Best Electric at Marina Square.
Gain City Best Electric at Marina Square. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

Shoppers will soon be able to dispose of their old mobile phones, dead batteries and other e-waste in recycling bins at electronic stores.

Twenty e-waste collection bins will be placed in outlets of four major electronic retailers - Best Denki, Courts, Gain City and Harvey Norman - by the end of this week.

The move is part of a newly signed agreement that sees the four companies joining the REcycling Nation's Electronic Waste (Renew) programme.

Jointly run by telco StarHub, delivery firm DHL and recycler TES, Renew is a voluntary community initiative that was started by StarHub in 2012.

Renew bins are provided in locations islandwide and their contents are collected and recycled, with valuable parts extracted and harmful substances treated.

The expansion of the e-waste recycling programme was launched yesterday in conjunction with World Environment Day at StarHub Green in Ubi.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding was witnessed by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, and Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Masagos highlighted how rising affluence and technological advancements have led to a rise in e-waste. "What I hope is that our consumers, Singaporeans, dispose of e-waste responsibly," he said.

Mr Julian Neo, head of commercial at DHL Express Singapore, added: "We want to encourage more of our partners, customers and employees to join us on this journey. E-waste growth will only continue to accelerate with the pace of digital transformation."

Renew's expansion is supported by the National Environment Agency's (NEA) National Voluntary Partnership for E-waste Recycling. There will be a total of 468 Renew bins across 422 locations in Singapore, including places such as schools and major shopping malls.

The programme launched in 2012 with just two tonnes of e-waste collected. Last year, 92 tonnes were gathered, with 249 tonnes collected to date.

However, in Singapore alone, 60,000 tonnes of e-waste is produced yearly, half of which comes from households. Based on an NEA study in March this year, only about 6 per cent of this e-waste is sent for recycling through recycling bins.

Mr Dennis Chua, 28, an executive at a social welfare organisation, said: "E-waste recycling is definitely beneficial for Singapore, considering we're pretty advanced in our technology and people are constantly seeking an upgrade in their electronic devices."

Mr Masagos said: "Let each Renew bin convey the message that e-waste must be managed responsibly, so that we can safeguard our environment for our future generations."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2018, with the headline 'Four retailers hop on board e-waste recycling scheme'. Subscribe