The Senior Minister of State for the Singapore Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) has announced that a mandatory e-waste management system will be implemented in the country by 2021.
In a recent study, the National Environment Agency (NEA) found that roughly 11 kg of e-waste is disposed per person every year in Singapore, totaling around 60,000 tons annually. Currently, only about 6 percent of e-waste is deposited into a proper recycling container.
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E-waste contains heavy metals and hazardous substances that can seriously harm the environment and public health if not properly handled. Some heavy metals can also be extracted from properly recovered e-waste and re-used, which is more sustainable than mining for virgin materials.
To deal with e-waste management MEWR will implement a mandatory e-waste management system by 2021. The system will ensure that electrical and electronic products are disposed of in an environmentally friendly way and allow for safe recovery of useful resources.
For a start, this system will cover 5 main categories of products, namely ICT equipment like mobile phones and computers, solar panels, batteries, lamps, and certain large household appliances like refrigerators, air-conditioners, washing machines and dryers. Together, these products constitute around 90% of e-waste in Singapore and pose more harm to the environment if not properly treated.