Singapore to have new electronic waste disposal system this year

E-waste contains valuable resources which can be extracted through proper handling and treatment. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new electronic and electrical waste collection system will be available in Singapore soon, including receptacles in public areas, scheduled collection drives and ad-hoc doorstep collection services, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a statement on Thursday (Feb 11).

These services will be run by the Alba Group, an international waste management company, as part of its new role as producer responsibility scheme (PRS) operator, which will begin on July 1 this year and run until June 30, 2026.

The NEA awarded the licence, the first of its kind, to the company on Thursday morning. Alba is running similar schemes in Germany and Hong Kong, and has also been the public waste collector for Jurong since April 2020.

The appointment of Alba is part of Singapore's extended producer responsibility scheme (EPR) for electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) management.

The implementation of this scheme means that producers - defined by the NEA as companies which manufacture or import electrical or electronic products into Singapore - rather than consumers will bear more of the costs of dealing with e-waste.

"In Singapore's EPR scheme for e-waste management, producers of products above the prescribed supply thresholds will have to finance the PRS operator for the collection and proper treatment of regulated products intended for disposal," said the NEA.

The EPR, announced in 2018, will also be implemented on July 1 this year to help deal with the 60,000 tons of e-waste generated by Singapore annually, which is set to grow with the increasing use of consumer electronics and electronic equipment for businesses.

According to the NEA website on the scheme, e-waste contains valuable resources which can be extracted through proper handling and treatment, and also contains small amounts of hazardous substances which require proper disposal.

Alba is set to help Singaporeans properly dispose of e-waste, while also monitoring the flow of electronic products through the economy.

The company will track electronic products entering the Singapore market and ensure they are appropriately processed when they become waste.

"All waste collected by Alba will be sent to licensed e-waste recyclers," said the NEA.

"Alba will set up a data management system to track and report to NEA the amount of e-waste collected for treatment."

On Wednesday the Government released the Singapore Green Plan 2030, an extensive developmental blueprint which set a series of ambitious goals to overhaul Singapore's environmental footprint over the next 10 years.

In its role as PRS operator, Alba will also have responsibilities in helping to alter consumer culture surrounding e-waste.

It will be tasked with organising outreach programmes to raise public awareness on the need to responsibly manage e-waste and to promote a culture of recycling.

"A website and mobile application will be rolled out with information for the public and businesses, such as e-waste receptacle locations, collection schedules, and educational and promotional events," said the NEA.

"To make it more convenient for the public to recycle their e-waste, they will also be able to request ad-hoc doorstep collection services on the website or app for a fee."

"Recycling e-waste protects human and environmental health and helps conserve... precious natural resources," said NEA deputy chief executive officer Ram Bhaskar.

"This is the first EPR scheme to be introduced in Singapore which is an important step to close the e-waste loop and adopt a circular approach towards resource management, as envisioned in Singapore's Zero Waste Masterplan."

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