To reduce electronic waste in Singapore, the Government is planning to introduce regulations which will make manufacturers and retailers of electronic goods take responsibility for disposal and recycling of their products.
Giving an inkling of the proposed measure, Masagos Zulkifli, Environment and Water Resources Minister of Singapore, said, “The government will adopt the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) approach.”
He was interacting with the stakeholders during a pre-Budget consultation session.
“This means we have a target for the original producers to look at what they can do to retrieve this e-waste that is produced in the first place. Put a target, either through an incentive or a tax system, to make sure this is something they can do effectively,” said Masagos.
“This is a timely move as the improper disposal of e-waste releases toxic chemicals into the environment,” he added.
About 60,000 tonnes of e-waste are generated yearly in Singapore and the figure is expected to shoot up as the country advances towards a digitised future.
Masagos stressed that EPR isn't a new concept and Singapore has to catch up.
Giving the example of Denmark, the Minister said that the implementation of the EPR framework in 2014 produced a collection rate of 76 per cent of e-waste. For other countries in the European Union, recyclers are subjected to targets and 80 per cent of large household appliances and 70 per cent of communication technology (ICT) equipment must be recycled.
Manufacturers, retailers and recyclers must also submit regular e-waste reports to authorities.
Many stakeholders present in the consultation session also stressed on reducing the e-waste.
Janet Neo, head of corporate sustainability at Fuji Xerox said that the company has appointed one employee to be a full-time green evangelist, to educate clients on sustainability.
Participants also said that consumers must change their lifestyle habits, such as repairing products where possible, to minimise wastage.