Virogreen Singapore’s Mr Philip Tan, explaining to MP for Pasir Ris – Punggol GRC, Ms Sun Xue Ling, Virogreen’s Corporate Social Responsibility at Punggol North Eco-Carnival in 2017.

In an effort to tackle the rising amount of e-waste, Singapore Government is calling for manufacturers to take responsibility for the environmental cost of their products throughout their entire life-cycle.In its report, “Onus on goods producers to tackle e-waste,” manufacturers was identified as the major cause of electronic-waste crisis.

To solve this issue, the report states that producers have to ensure more environmentally-friendly design of their products as well as their end-of-life treatment, introducing more recycling bin collection points and training scrap dealers and rag and bone man to recycle e-waste properly or be involved in the collection process.

 

In Singapore alone, 60,000 tonnes is produced each year, half of which comes from households. Yet only 6 per cent of household e-waste is sent for recycling, according to a recent survey.

According to the report, the situation is less of a concern in European countries, where all producers and manufacturers are required by law to fund the end-of-life recycling of their equipment.

In less-developed countries, however, a lack of legal enforcement means fewer “green credentials”.

 

“We would argue that they have exactly the same moral obligations where there products are sold in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. Most developing countries are entirely without the kind of facilities necessary to re-use and recycle ICTs,” said Tony Roberts, Founder and CEO of Computer Aid International.

The onus will soon be on producers of refrigerators and other such goods to make sure they are properly recycled or disposed of, as the Government puts in place laws to fix Singapore’s e-waste problem.

For consumers, this could mean more collection points for small e-waste, and take-back services to make it easier to get rid of their larger electrical and electronic goods.

Incentives or taxes will be used to prod manufacturers and importers to meet specific targets, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli yesterday.

“We have to look at how we incentivise and how we put in a levy or some form of fines when producers do not meet their targets,” he said on the sidelines of a pre-Budget consultation session on e-waste.

But these will be put in place at a later stage. The targets will also start small and increase over time.

Mr Masagos gave the assurance that the informal sector – such as scrap dealers and rag-and-bone men – could be trained to recycle e-waste properly or be involved in the collection process.

The Republic is taking its cue from countries such as Sweden by taking on the Extended Producer Responsibility approach.

In Sweden, around half of all e-waste gets a second life as ingredients in new products and materials.

In Singapore alone, 60,000 tonnes is produced each year, half of which comes from households. Yet only 6 per cent of household e-waste is sent for recycling, according to a recent survey.

There are about 400 e-waste collection points set up by telco StarHub in places such as schools and malls. But many consumers do not know they exist or do not find them convenient.

There is no national collection system for larger household appliances.

But while legislation will help, participants at the consultation session also called for better physical collection infrastructure.

“Recycling and collection points for e-waste need to be both accessible and visible…” said Deloitte’s Ashley Tan.

He was among the 37 participants from more than 20 organisations at the consultation which was attended by Mr Masagos.

Mr Juergen Militz, secretary of the Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore, suggested that manufacturers and importers pay a small fee that would go into a recycling fund.

Source: Straits Times