Recycling computers, monitors, servers and electronics

E-Waste Recycling in Singapore

Posted on December 13, 2011 · Posted in PK Metals Blog

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A recent article from Scrap Magazine, which can be read here, discusses two E-Waste facilities in South East Asia, and how they are taking advantage of the developing market. For first time readers of this column, it is important to understand the basics of this industry.

E-Waste, Electronic Waste, is the new buzz word that describes discarded electronics. A computer may be outdated, but everything from the motherboard to the plastic case can be recycled or sold for reuse. The process of dismantling the different components in an efficient way is to separate the plastic shell from the components, circuit boards, hard drives, power supply, etc. The circuit boards contain commodities such as palladium, copper, gold and silver. Recycling outdated computers is an immediate step that every business can take to improve their carbon footprint.

The article discussing how the E-Waste industry is expanding globally, and how companies in Singapore now hold ISO 14001, ISO 9001, and OHSAS 18001 certification of its environmental, quality, and safety management systems. As we mentioned in this series, certification is an important step for the continued global growth of the E-Waste industry.

  • “The debate over the export of scrap electronics from the developed world to the developing world—specifically, from Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development member countries such as those in North America and Europe to non-OECD members, which include Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam—misses one fact that’s fueling these companies’ growth: With or without exports, electronic scrap is here. The supply of obsolete personal computers generated in the developing world will actually exceed that generated in the developed world within five to seven years, according to forecasts that researchers at Nankai University (Tianjin, China) and Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.) published last year. “Asia has 50 percent of the world’s population,” points out Venkatesha “Venky” Murthy, Cimelia’s managing director, “but most of the consumer market hasn’t been touched yet by consumer electronics.” This market’s growth will create “a big environmental challenge,” he says, “but also a giant business opportunity for professional recyclers” such as these two companies.

It is crucial for the scrap metal recycling industry in the United States to expand their business into the emerging markets. As with most things, this is easier said than done. There are still many challenges facing the industry as it looks to expand into growth markets. Patent infringement and a lack of a central regulatory authority will have an impact on the industry as it expands globally, and it is crucial to develop a framework that will benefit the international environment and economy.