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A three-in-one recycling bin in Harvey Norman stores that can take ICT equipment, light bulbs and batteries. (Photo: CNA/Vanessa Lim)
Mobile Device Recycling And E-waste Management In Phone Manufacturer News.
SINGAPORE: About 60,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) are thrown away every year by homes and businesses. This is equivalent to about 70 phones that each person in Singapore throws away every year.
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Although there is no official information on the amount of waste that is recycled, these materials – which may contain hazardous substances such as heavy metals – are thrown down the drain or left in landfills, causing health and environmental risks.
In order to tackle the growing mountain of e-waste, Singapore will implement management of certain types of e-waste from Thursday (July 1). This will place the responsibility for managing the disposal of these products on the companies that supply them to the Singapore market.
It includes information and communication technology (ICT) equipment such as mobile phones and computers, as well as large equipment such as refrigerators and personal computers.
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These items are regulated based on the amount of waste that can affect the environment, according to the NEA.
From July 1, more than 300 e-waste bins will be installed in various locations such as cities, shopping malls and supermarkets. Quarterly collections will also be carried out in residential areas, while city councils will provide services for the removal of mass household waste.
The list of sites and databases will be available on ALBA’s website starting July 1, on ALBA’s STEP UP Sustainability mobile application and on the NEA website.
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If you are buying a new product to replace an existing product, you can request a free one-on-one return from the seller when you bring the new product. This does not matter where you bought the product or what type of product it is.
Retailers with an area of 300 square meters or more will also be required to provide in-store collection services.
All managed e-waste will be collected by ALBA E-waste, the designated operator of the Producer Responsibility Scheme of the National Environment Agency (NEA). These items will be sent to licensed e-waste recyclers who will ensure that all data stored on the device is completely removed or destroyed before the device is ready for reuse or recycling.
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ALBA will establish a data management system for analysis and reporting to NEA the amount of collected e-waste.
Manufacturers selling electrical and electronic products that are regulated under the given restrictions must join the Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS) and pay for the collection and processing of e-waste.
The amount they will have to pay will vary depending on their market share and the weight of the e-waste that ALBA collects and sends for treatment.
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This means that the market share of the top producers, the higher the salary they can have, compared to others who are under the plan.
A manufacturer will have to join the Producer Responsibility Scheme if they supply above the threshold, regardless of the platform they use to do so.
It does not apply to companies that only sell the products but do not export or manufacture them.
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Although the new system includes many electrical and electronic products, some items such as ink cartridges are not included in NEA’s list of regulated e-waste.
Some companies, including Epson and Canon, have introduced their own systems for collecting used toner and ink cartridges for recycling.
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Types Of E Waste
Each iPhone takes about 5 minutes to uninstall, while an Android phone takes twice as long.
SINGAPORE: At a waste collection and sorting center in Tuas, piles of used mobile phones are waiting to be recycled.
Among the nicer phones are the bulkier, monochrome originals with an antenna – the likes of which haven’t been seen in years. The blue Nokia 6150, launched in 1998, or the green Samsung OT 300 were at the same time among the thousands of used phones collected by ALBA E-waste Smart Recycling.
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A blue Nokia 6150 (left) and a lime green Alcatel OT 300 were among the phones collected by ALBA. (Photo: CNA/Koh Wan Ting)
These phones will be sent to recyclers who will then break them down into components that can be recycled for reuse.
CNA visited ALBA and e-waste recycler Virogrin last month to monitor the end-of-life process of mobile phones placed in e-waste bins that are placed island-wide and monitored by ALBA.
E Waste Recycling Program
ALBA E-waste Smart Recycling is within the ALBA Group, a global waste management company, which has been selected by the National Environment Agency (NEA) as a Producer Responsibility Scheme for producers of electronic and e-waste.
As operator, ALBA will collect controlled e-waste for recycling for five years, until June 30, 2026. Controlled e-waste includes information and communication devices such as computers, laptops, computer monitors and mobile phones.
The operator told CNA that the number of calls he collects has increased in recent months since the system was launched.
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From July 2021 to June 2022, ALBA collected about 580 kilograms of mobile phones per month. In the next few months – between July and October – he collected about 1,200 kilograms per month.
With an average phone weight of around 150 to 200 grams, this means that ALBA now collects 6,000 to 8,000 phones per month.
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ALBA’s director of public relations, Jun Xi, said that although the company collects many mobile phones, unnecessary items such as breast pumps, robotic toys and massagers are still placed in e-waste recycling bins.
“People need to realize that they only dispose of their mobile phones and dispose of all packaging waste. For example, the telephone box or plastic bags, because they are not waste, but packaging waste,” said Ms. Xi.
Ms Xie said: “We saw a lot of old phones, not just Nokia phones, we also remember big phones like bricks. incredible for us.”
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“If the glass is broken, what we would encourage people to do is to put it in a secure container, for example a ziplock bag before we put it in our bin. This is to protect them from harm,” said Mme. Look.
Once collected, the mobile phones are handed over to the Virogreen recycler, located in the Tuas industrial sector.
When received, goods – whether bags or pallets – containing mobile phones are tested, said its director of business development Tommy Yeo.
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The phones are brought to a brightly lit table in the corner of the space, where staff wearing safety glasses and gloves hand them out.
Parts such as the phone’s screen, plastic casing, battery, and main board, also known as the printed circuit board, are separated into different boxes. Since only a small fraction of each component can be recovered from each phone, Virogreen usually waits to reach the weight of each component before sending them to the upstream recyclers.
For example, Virogreen collects 25,000 kilograms of printed circular wood – both from mobile phones and other electronics – before sending it off for processing.
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During processing, precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and other common metals such as copper, tin and zinc can be removed from the main plate. The battery contains cadmium, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper and aluminum while the touch screen can be made of glass and plastic.
After harvesting, these products can be transformed into new products. 10 percent of the cell phone that cannot be reused will end up in landfills.
A forklift loads a large canvas bag full of mobile phones onto a Virogreen scale. (Photo: CNA/Hanidah Amin)
E Waste Recycling
A phone takes about five to 10 minutes to break down, depending on how it’s made, Yeo said when he took CNA on a tour of the facility.
Although this may seem short, numbers are associated with each bag received. Virogrin receives 500 kilograms of mobile phones a month – the equivalent of around 2,500 mobile phones.
It only takes 10 minutes to clear one phone, which means it takes up to 417 hours to clear a month’s worth of calls.
Where To Dispose E Waste In Singapore
Dealing with special calls also has its challenges, Yeo said. New varieties require more time to open because of the way they are made.
A worker unpacks used mobile phones and distributes them in boxes in Virogrin. (Photo: CNA/Hanidah Amin)
“You’re comparing an iPhone to an Android phone. Android phones are designed in such a way … that everything sticks together. So what happens is that you open (open) with difficulty, or you have to soften. to open the window and remove the contents.”
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