Key step in implementing first Extended Producer Responsibility scheme in Singapore for e-waste management
The National Environment Agency (NEA) has awarded the licence to operate a Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS) in Singapore to ALBA Group plc & Co. KG (ALBA). The appointment of the PRS Operator is an integral part of Singapore’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for e-waste management.
As the PRS Operator, ALBA will collect regulated consumer electrical and electronic waste (e-waste)1 across Singapore for proper treatment and recycling for a period of five years, from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2026.
- ALBA, formed in 1968, has a demonstrated track record in operating Producer Responsibility Schemes in countries such as Germany and Hong Kong. ALBA also has a local presence and is familiar with the local waste landscape and e-waste recycling industry, having been appointed the Public Waste Collector for the Jurong Sector since 1 April 2020. Under the licence, NEA has set e-waste collection targets that ALBA will be required to fulfil (refer to Annex A for the collection targets). ALBA will set up a variety of e-waste collection avenues so that the public and businesses can conveniently drop off their e-waste for recycling. These collection avenues will include e-waste receptacles in public areas, scheduled collection drives, and ad-hoc door-step collection services. All e-waste collected by ALBA will be sent to licensed e-waste recyclers. ALBA will set up a data management system to track and report to NEA the amount of e-waste collected for treatment.
- ALBA will also organise outreach programmes to raise awareness among the public of the need to manage e-waste responsibly and to promote a culture of e-waste recycling. A website and mobile application will be rolled out with information for the public and businesses, such as e-waste receptacle locations, collection schedules, and educational and promotional events. To make it more convenient for the public to recycle their e-waste, they will also be able to request ad-hoc doorstep collection services on the website or the app for a fee.
Singapore’s approach to managing e-waste
- In Singapore’s EPR scheme for e-waste management, producers of regulated electrical and electronic products above the prescribed supply thresholds will have to finance the PRS Operator for the collection and proper treatment of regulated products intended for disposal. Producers are companies that manufacture or import regulated electrical and electronic products for supply in Singapore. To develop Singapore’s EPR scheme for e-waste management, NEA studied similar EPR schemes implemented in jurisdictions such as the EU, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
- All producers are required to register with the NEA and report the weight of regulated products supplied in Singapore to NEA on an annual basis. NEA has set supply thresholds for the various categories of regulated products. Producers supplying above these thresholds must join the PRS and support the scheme financially. Producers supplying below the thresholds will be exempted from joining the PRS (refer to Annex B for the supply thresholds for regulated electrical and electronic products).
- In addition, retailers that operate retail sales outlets with floor areas of 300m2 or more will be required to set-up in-store collection services for consumer information and communication (ICT) equipment, batteries and lamps corresponding to the type of product they supply at each outlet. These retailers must also offer their customers take back services without charge for unwanted products of the same class or type, on a one-for-one basis, upon delivery of a new product regardless of where the old product was purchased from.
- The EPR scheme will also promote the development of local e-waste recycling capabilities by providing feedstock for the recycling industry and driving demand for e-waste treatment services in Singapore. NEA has been developing the EPR framework and implementation details in close consultation with industry stakeholders since 2015. Feedback gathered through focus group discussions, mass industry consultation sessions and conference with stakeholders across the e-waste management chain has played an integral role in the development of the EPR scheme for e-waste. NEA will continue to engage stakeholders closely to ensure the implementation of the EPR framework by July 2021. This EPR system is implemented through the Resource Sustainability Act (RSA), administered by NEA. More information can be found at https://www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/waste-management/3r-programmes-and-resources/e-waste- management/extended-producer-responsibility-(epr)-system-for-e-waste-management-system
- Mr Ram Bhaskar, NEA’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Environmental Protection) and Director-General of Environmental Protection said, ”Recycling e-waste protects human and environmental health and helps to conserve our earth’s precious natural resources. This is the first Extended Producer Responsibility scheme to be introduced in Singapore which is an important step to close the e-waste loop and adopt a circular approach towards resource management, as envisioned in Singapore’s Zero Waste Masterplan.”
1 Consumer EEE refers to equipment largely marketed to and bought or used by the general public (e.g. laptops, mobile phones, tablets, printers and household appliances).
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About National Environment Agency
Formed on 1 July 2002, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is the leading public organisation responsible for ensuring a clean and green environment, and the sustainable development of Singapore. Its key roles are to protect Singapore’s resources from pollution, maintain a high level of public health and provide timely meteorological information. NEA also develops and spearheads environmental initiatives and programmes through its partnership with the People, Public and Private sectors. It is committed to motivating every individual to care for the environment as a way of life, in order to sustain a quality living environment for present and future generations.