Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, at ALBA’s E-waste Art Exhibition on 9 December 2021
Mr Jakob Lambsdorff, CEO/ALBA
Mr Jonson Lai, Managing Director, EWR2
Mr Lee Weikwang, Group Director, Virogreen
Ms Stephanie Poh, Deputy General Manager of Marketing, Marina Centre Holdings
Ladies and gentlemen
1 Good morning, everyone. It is my pleasure to join you today for this meaningful exhibition.
A growing e-waste problem
2 E-waste is one of the priority waste streams in Singapore, and we expect the amount of e-waste generated to increase in tandem with the prevalence of electrical and electronic equipment. For long-term sustainability, we need to recycle and reuse more of our e-waste. E-waste contains precious raw materials such as gold or copper. Recovering and reusing these materials for new products means that we can reduce the need to mine for more, and that we can lower our carbon footprint.
3 In our Zero Waste Masterplan launched in 2019, we outlined our strategies to reduce the amount of waste sent to Semakau Landfill by 30 per cent by 2030. Under the Singapore Green Plan, we will frontload this goal to achieve a 20 per cent reduction by 2026. This will help us to extend the lifespan of Singapore’s only landfill beyond 2035.
Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for e-waste
4 In July this year, the National Environment Agency (NEA) launched the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for e-waste management, or EPR for short. Under the EPR scheme, producers of regulated electrical and electronic equipment are responsible for ensuring the proper collection and treatment of products that they supply to the Singapore market at their end-of-life. Under the EPR scheme, producers are required to finance the Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS) and pay for the services provided by the PRS Operator.
5 NEA has appointed ALBA E-Waste Smart Recycling (ALBA) as the PRS Operator. As the PRS operator, ALBA will collect regulated consumer e-waste across Singapore for proper treatment and recycling on behalf of their producers, and fulfil e-waste collection targets set by NEA. The PRS allows for the centralised management of e-waste collection and recycling, thereby achieving economies of scale, enhancing material traceability, and ensuring that e-waste is handled responsibly.
6 Under the new e-waste EPR scheme, members of the public can deposit their e-waste conveniently at e-waste collection points located across Singapore. NEA and ALBA have worked with premises owners, retailers and town councils to establish a network of more than 500 e-waste bins at convenient locations, such as electronics retail outlets, HDB estates, community centres, supermarkets and shopping malls. Over 300 large electronics retail outlets are also providing in-store e-waste collection services. To make it even more convenient for residents, ALBA will also conduct scheduled e-waste collection drives at housing estates. This will start once the COVID-19 situation allows for it.
7 I’m happy to note that the scheme has received positive support from our stakeholders and members of the public. Since the scheme started in July, ALBA has collected more than 2,400 tonnes of consumer ICT equipment, large household appliances, electric mobility devices, portable batteries.
ALBA’s International E-waste Day art competition
8 ALBA also organises regular outreach programmes to raise public awareness on e-waste, such as educational talks in primary and secondary schools, and community collection drives at certain housing estates and private condominiums.
9 In conjunction with International E-Waste Day on 14 October this year, ALBA organised an inaugural art competition for students from secondary schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL). I understand that the response to the competition was overwhelming. I look forward to viewing some of the shortlisted artworks at the exhibition later.
Collective effort required to achieve a Zero Waste Nation
10 I thank ALBA for organising the art competition and exhibition. I would also like to thank our students for using their art and creativity to spread the message on sustainability. Such initiatives help to inform the public on the importance of recycling our e-waste, and more importantly, rally the community to do their part.
11 The Government will continue to partner all stakeholders to co-create and co-deliver effective solutions for sustainability and the environment. As individuals, we can make a difference in reducing the amount of e-waste that we generate. We can do this by carefully considering the need to purchase new products, choosing to repair products that we already own or buying second-hand products instead of new ones. We can also donate our unwanted electrical and electronic devices which are in good working condition to those in need.
12 Together, we can build a greener and more sustainable Singapore for our future generations.