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New e-waste disposal rules to come for electronic goods producers and possibly retailers in Singapore

THE Singapore government will be requiring electronic goods producers and possibly even retailers to collect the products they sell and ensure that they are recycled or disposed of properly.

Under such an approach known as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), the government will set collection targets for these companies, which if not met could attract fines, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Thursday.

But there will be a transition period given for these companies, he told reporters on the sidelines of a public consultation session on electronic waste (e-waste).

"They will probably have smaller targets first to get the process in place... From the lessons we have learnt from other countries, we have to slowly bring it up. And as the system gets better oiled, we know that they can be very successful," he said.

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He added that the EPR concept is already practised in many countries around the world, so most producers are aware of how it can and ought to be done. "Therefore it's not too difficult for them to start doing it in Singapore too."

Singapore is looking at regulation for the sector in order to manage growing e-waste.

More than 60,000 tonnes of e-waste are generated in Singapore each year, with the industrial and residential sectors contributing evenly. This figure is growing 5 per cent every year, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).

A recent study by the United Nations University, a research arm of the United Nations, also showed that Singapore produced the second-highest volume of e-waste in the region at 19.95 kg per capita in 2015. Hong Kong was the top e-waste dumper, at 21.7 kg per capita.

Over 60 countries in the world has implemented legislation for e-waste disposal, said the NEA.

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