Did you know that Singaporeans discard around 60 million kilograms of e-waste every year? A study done by the National Environment Agency (NEA) showed that Singaporeans threw away electronic items such as computers, laptops and mobile phones every year, amounting to that staggering number above. I guess it’s understandable that many people are not aware that e-waste can actually be recycled because when people mention recycling, it’s common to think only of paper, plastic bottles and aluminium cans.
Mayor of South West CDC Low Yen Ling, said: “We are seeing more e-waste with the growth of electronic devices. If not disposed of properly, electronic items can pollute our environment and harm our health.” Ms Low is hoping that this initiative will enable and encourage Singaporeans to recycle their e-waste. E-waste is not limited only to computers and mobile phones but also household items like television and fridges. New electronic waste bins have been set up in Bukit Batok and Alexandra that will also allow all data to be wiped off their devices before discarding them.
According to greensingapore.com, “Electronic waste contains poisonous substances and if not disposed of properly can lead to environmental pollution and health dangers. With the proliferation of electronic products, the rapid growth in its consumption and improvements in technologies, products are becoming obsolete in a shorter time. Such obsolete products are required to be disposed of in a safe manner.” Singaporeans need to understand this as it is something that happens every day but we do not notice it. We continuously upgrade our phones, computers, televisions and other electronic devices very regularly and we throw our old products out. A mobile phone is small but in a country of over five million people, that’s 5 million more mobile phones, or 3 million computers, or 1 million television sets or fridges that could get thrown out yearly.
Like everything else in life, progress is a two-way street. When paper and plastic were the only things on the market, we found a way to recycle them. Today, we’ve gone digital and because of that, we needed to find a way to recycle that too. The more high-tech we become as a society, the more high-tech recycling needs to be. Don’t think that just because you’ve stopped using paper, you’ve saved the world from pollution. Start recycling your e-waste today, before it’s too late.