Producers have recycling schemes in Singapore that accept e-waste

Reply from NEA, Straits Times Forum 24 Apr 08;

I REFER to the letter, 'Have separate bin to recycle batteries' by Mr Andrew Wee last Thursday.

Our main concern with the disposal of household batteries is the mercury content in some types of batteries as they pose a pollution problem during disposal. To make sure the mercury does not become a pollution problem, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has, since 1992, imposed a limit on the mercury content of batteries sold in Singapore. This limit is 0.001 per cent (by weight of mercury) for mercury-oxide batteries and zinc-carbon batteries; and 0.025 per cent for alkaline batteries.

With this control in place, we can allow household batteries to be disposed of with other household waste at our waste-to-energy plants. These plants have air pollution control equipment to ensure emissions are clean and meet stipulated standards.

Notwithstanding this, NEA encourages manufacturers, distributors and retailers to implement recycling schemes for their products at the end of their useful life. Nokia and Motorola have recycling bins to collect unwanted mobile phones and batteries at designated collection points. There are similar collection schemes by computer companies Dell and Hewlett-Packard. While Hewlett-Packard takes back computers from its corporate customers, Dell collects computers of any make for recycling. All these services are provided at no charge to consumers. We will continue to encourage more producers to implement similar recycling schemes.

We thank Mr Wee for his concern and interest.

Ong Seng Eng
Director, Resource Conservation Department
National Environment Agency