SINGAPORE - Members of the public can deposit electronic waste in recycling bins at selected supermarkets under the Dairy Farm Group, and several Harvey Norman outlets, the National Environment Agency said on Friday (June 4).
These items include printers, computers and mobile phones, as well as light bulbs and portable batteries.
People can also earn points that can be redeemed for shopping vouchers when they use these bins at four locations.
These are Cold Storage at Leisure Park Kallang, Giant Hypermarket in Tampines North Drive 2 which accepts light bulbs and batteries, Harvey Norman at its Millenia Walk flagship store as well as the outlet in Suntec City, which accepts batteries, light bulbs and electronic devices.
Recycling bins will be available at five more locations by June 14.
The bins, launched ahead of the NEA's extended producer responsibility scheme which will be implemented on July 1, aims to deal with the 60,000 tonnes of e-waste generated by Singapore annually.
This means that producers - defined as companies which manufacture or import electrical or electronic products - will have to finance a licensed operator for the collection and treatment of regulated products intended for disposal, said the agency.
The Alba group, which has been appointed as its Producer Responsibility Scheme operator, will channel the e-waste collected by retailers to licensed recyclers.
The latter will ensure that "all data stored on data-containing devices are permanently erased or destroyed" before they are prepared for reuse or recycled, NEA added.
Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor said in a Facebook post on Friday that the soft launch can help the public to familiarise themselves with these bins, and raise awareness of the items that can be recycled.
"It is important to recycle and treat e-waste right as they contain heavy metals and toxic substances that can harm the environment and public health if not handled properly. We can also recover valuable and scarce materials from e-waste, which would otherwise be thrown away," she added.
Major retailers like Dairy Farm Group and Harvey Norman play an important role in the management of e-waste under the scheme, said NEA.
Under the Resource Sustainability Act, retailers that operate outlets with a floor space of 300 sq m or more will set up in-store collection services for the consumer electrical and electronic products that they sell.
Collection can be in the form of over-the-counter services or recycling bins, and the retailers will also have to offer customers free take-back services for end-of-life products.
The discarded items are to be picked up upon delivery of a new product regardless of the brand and where the good was originally purchased, said NEA.
From July 1, there will be more than 300 e-waste recycling bins islandwide, in public areas such as shopping malls, Residents' Committee centres, community centres, supermarkets and retail outlets.
NEA said the new bins will replace existing ones from voluntary recycling programmes led by various industry organisations, and that it is working with them to ensure a smooth transition to the scheme.
In addition, Alba will have collection drives in housing estates, work with town councils to remove bulky e-waste and perform doorstep collection for a fee.
The company will also organise electrical and electronic equipment repair workshops and donation drives to promote a repair and reuse culture.