singapore garden sky
Singapore, home to the Gardens in the Sky, has commissioned Germany-based ALBA to operate an e-scrap collection program.
Photo by Brian Taylor.

Alba to head e-scrap EPR effort in Singapore

Nation’s environmental agency appoints German company to set up collection and diversion effort for obsolete electronics.

February 17, 2021

The National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore has awarded the license to operate an extended producer responsibility system for obsolete electronics to Berlin-based Alba Group plc & Co. KG. Alba has been commissioned to collect regulated obsolete items throughout Singapore “for proper treatment and recycling for a period of five years, from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2026,” says the NEA.

Alba has been part of a joint venture in Hong Kong that has operated a similar system, with an automated e-scrap dismantling and processing facility there having been in operation since 2018.

Comments Dr. Axel Schweitzer, board chair of the Alba Group, “We are honored to support Singapore on its journey to become a leading location for sustainability. We will continue to work with all our partners to bring Singapore a step closer to its goal of becoming a Zero Waste Nation. To achieve this, we are linking our advanced waste management and recycling technology with digital offerings.”

Singapore’s NEA states, “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 April 1, 2020.”

The regulated items to be collected, per the NEA, include large appliances, information technology equipment, batteries, lamps and solar photovoltaic panels. The appliance category includes refrigerators, washing machines and dryers while the IT equipment category includes computers, printers and mobile phones. A more thorough list can be found on this web page.

Per the agreement, Alba will be tasked to set up e-scrap “collection avenues so the public and businesses can conveniently drop off their [e-scrap] for recycling,” the NEA says. That effort will include collection bins in public areas, scheduled collection drives and “ad-hoc door-step collection services,” the agency adds. The materials Alba collects will be sent to licensed e-scrap recyclers, and Alba will set up a data management system to track and report to NEA the amount of electronic scrap collected.

Adds the NEA, “To develop Singapore’s EPR scheme for e-waste management, NEA studied similar EPR schemes implemented in countries and jurisdictions such as the EU, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.”

Ram Bhaskar, an NEA deputy CEO, says, “Recycling e-waste protects human and environmental health and helps to conserve our earth’s precious natural resources. This is the first EPR scheme to be introduced in Singapore, which is an important step to close the e-waste loop and adopt a circular approach toward resource management, as envisioned in Singapore’s Zero Waste Masterplan.”