Electronics Recycling Asia: Encourage, then Enforce

Dell representative says industry has stepped in to recycle electronic scrap, but government’s role as an enforcer is still necessary.

November 26, 2012
Recycling Today Staff
Conferences & Events

In a presentation at the Electronics Recycling Asia conference in Guangzhou, China, in November, a regional executive with Dell Inc. conveyed that company’s findings on how regulations can best help ensure the comprehensive recycling of obsolete electronics.

Crystynna Ewe, based in Dell’s Singapore office as its head of take back for the Asia Pacific and Japan region, said Dell encourages legislators and policy makers to consider several factors when shaping regulations, including:

  • E-scrap has value and that “collection and treatment make business sense;”
  • E-scrap can impact human health and the environment “if it’s not recycled properly—the enforcement of standards is key;”
  • although a lot of WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) material has value, “some fractions may be problematic,” including CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors, fluorescent tubes and refrigerants;
  • collaboration is the key to enable extended producer responsibility (EPR) to work;
  • enforcement is key to prevent poor handling and to monitor trans-boundary issues; and
  • while government is the enforcer, “free entry and exit to the market” ensures the private sector can perform at its best.

Ewe also told attendees that globally Dell had helped collect nearly 41,500 tons of obsolete electronics through corporate take-back efforts and through some 2,000 Goodwill Industries locations worldwide.

Additionally, Ewe noted that since 2009, the amount of plastic collected for recycling by Dell is equivalent to arouond 427 million plastic water bottles.

The Electronics Recycling Asia conference, organized by ICM AG, was Nov. 13-16 in Guangzhou, China.