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Singapore deals well with e-waste disposal

April 3, 2013

singaporeDespite many Asian countries struggling with increasing levels of e-waste, Singapore remains unchallenged by the problem.

ZDNet reports that the issue of disposing of electronic waste in Singapore is not as serious compared to other Asian countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, listing a number of reasons why the country is able to manage its e-waste more effectively.

The article suggests that, while it does not have any formal e-waste laws unlike several Asian countries, Singapore has an “active recycling and second-hand market and effective recycling initiatives” which means that “very little” e-waste ends up in disposal facilities, with many companies including IT vendors implementing their own programmes to collect used devices for recycling.

In addition, the country’s smaller size and lower population results in less e-waste being generated, despite electronic device ownership being “close to 100 percent”, and so e-waste recycling facilities have the capacity to manage waste generated locally. It also prevents Singapore from being used as a “dumping ground for e-waste from developed nations”, with many emerging markets in Asia which are larger in size being used by Western countries to dispose of e-waste due to their lax waste disposal regulations.

The Singapore government is also helping the matter further by launching guidelines by this year to assist companies in managing the recycling of ICT equipment. This is becoming more common with Asian governments amid concerns over the region’s contribution of almost 60 percent of the world’s total e-waste, which has been “driven by the rapid increase of device ownership in Asia and the shorter time […] to change devices”.

Among the OEMs assisting with Singapore’s e-waste disposal are Dell, which has 25 collection points across the country for used ink cartridges; and Fuji Xerox, which collects used printers and cartridges from customers’ offices for recycling as well as recycling its own printing equipment.

According to a National Environment Agency spokesperson, the agency is working with the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore and Spring Singapore to create a recycling standard for ICT equipment promoting the adoption of best practices in the recycling industry; with the guidelines expected to be released by mid-2013.

Commenting on the new guidelines, Mok Chee Hong, Sustainability Ambassador at Fuji Xerox Singapore, said: “There is definitely a greater awareness of the importance of e-waste management in Singapore, and the move by the government to push standards is a positive direction.”

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