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Singapore to address rising e-waste

January 22, 2018

e-Waste (Credit: www.bbc.com)

The island nation will soon be instituting new regulations to tackle its growing mountain of e-waste.

As the Inquirer reports, Singapore could soon be introducing new regulations dedicated to the recycling and reuse of e-waste, in response to the growing amounts of electrical goods being discarded. Until now, the country’s recycling of electronic items has been “poor”, resulting in the waste of precious metals which could be extracted from the waste, as well as causing the production of hazardous chemicals.

“A regulated system is… needed to ensure that consumers are provided with convenient means to recycle their e-waste, and the e-waste collected is channeled to proper recycling facilities where safety and environmental standards are adhered to,” said the National Environment Agency (NEA).

3,00 tonnes of household e-waste are produced in the country yearly, but a mere 6 percent is recycled.
As a result the Singaporean government is taking inspiration from Scandaniavn nations such as Denmark and Sweden, where the e-waste reycling rates are much higher, thanks to their Extended Producer Responsibility strategies, which make brand owners and manufacturers responsible for the recycling of their products.

Last week the NEA revealed that “it is assessing the suitability of overseas practices with the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources through consultations with industry stakeholders.”

At present in Singapore, the majority of e-waste is “given to deliverymen to cart away, or thrown away”, or ends up with rag-and-bone men who improperly dispose of it, causing harmful compounds to infiltrate the environment.

The Agency also warned that the incineration of e-waste “would add to carbon emissions”.

Gary Steele, recycling facility TES-AMM Group’s CEO, spoke positively of the plan to implement new regulations, commenting, “Enforcing legislation and having EPR schemes make it more visible for people so they will want to deal with it properly.”

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