Electrical and Electronic Waste Recycling

December 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Recycle

Electrical and electronic items such as televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, handphones, computers, printers, and batteries are increasingly being disposed as waste after use. These waste are also known as e-waste and they are posing an environmental problem as most of these waste products contain toxic chemicals and can affect the environment and our health if they are incinerated or landfilled.

In addition, there is also the problem of e-waste being dumped in developing countries and recycled in an unhealthy and pollutive manner. Watch this video on the problem of e-waste:


According to the National Environment Agency, about 60,000 tonnes of e-waste are generated every year in Singapore. Singaporeans are known to be big users of electrical and electronic products, thus we can imagine the significant problem of e-waste here.

Let’s take a closer look at e-waste recycling:

E-Waste Recycling in Singapore

Used electrical and electronic items are commonly sold to the karang guni men, secondhand traders and shops, or traded-in when buying the new items. The used items are refurbished and sold locally or exported overseas for reuse.

Other used electrical and electronic items, and electronic scrap from industries are also sent to local e-waste recycling facilities where precious metals such as gold and platinum are extracted, and recovered materials such as plastics are sent to local recycling companies.

Collectors, Traders and Recycling Companies for E-Waste

To find a recycling collector or someone who wants your e-waste, check out NEA’s list of collectors and traders.

For companies, you can use the online business waste exchange, Waste is not Waste, to find someone who wants your waste.

What Can I Do

First, reduce your e-waste by asking yourself whether you need to buy new stuff like IT equipment and handphones frequently. Remember to Buy and Use Only What You Need.

If you have some electrical and electronic items that you don’t want but are still in good condition, try to Give It Away or Sell for Cash before recycling them.

You can also check out NEA’s list of take back programmes for e-waste.

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53 Responses to “Electrical and Electronic Waste Recycling”
  1. Great post, the fact that conservation and recycling is so high on so many peoples agenda at the moment is great. There’s a Yahoo group called freecycle I’m not sure if its just in the UK but thousands of people offer all sorts of unwanted goods rather than dumping them. Absolutely awesome way of recycling!!


  2. This blog is very informative post.Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Shaw says:

    Thanks for this post! Didn’t know MOTOROLA had recycling programmes. Now I can give them my old moto phones.

  4. Shaw says:

    Any ideas on how and where to recycle batteries? And what is done to recycle them?

  5. Andy says:

    Hi,great article, and i guess e-waste is indeed a pertinent topic here but I would like to just know how do people return their used handphones (or other electronic goods) which may not fall under the purview of these companies (such as HP, Brother etc) to be recycled..

    I don’t suppose they can just throw it into the recycle bins as well..Is the “karang guni” the only solution for these other goods to be returned for recycling?

    Furthermore, is there a way of knowing what happens to all these reycled electronic waste? for example what percentage is recycled, what percentage is too damaged to be recycled etc..Don’t seem to be able to find any such figures on NEA website..

    Thanks alot!

    • Eugene says:

      Hi Andy, I think most people sell or give their used handphones and other goods to karang gunis and second hand traders. Some of the recycling programmes in the post do take back other brands of handphones. For detailed figures of electronic waste, you would have to consult NEA.

  6. Andy says:

    Thanks alot Eugene! =)

  7. Bala says:

    Hi Eugene,

    hope all is well and thanks for your message. I am curious to know more & wondering if i can get more informaiton from you. should you be interested please let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

  8. ST says:

    Hi Eugene and all,

    I have done spring cleaning recently and I have a lot of chargers (phones,laptops, etc) and wires and also portable CD players and MD player and old handphones( which i am not sure still working), that i need to let go. Do u know where i can drop off the whole load for reuse/recycling?

    cos i cannot afford to go around singapore to drop off the old motorola phone then the old ericsson phone individually.

    Really appreciate any answers from anyone!
    thank you!


    • Eugene says:

      Hi ST, try selling them to Cash Converters if they are still in working condition. Or you can use your recycling bag or bin under the National Recycling Programme. For your phones, the recycling programme by Nokia takes in all brands, just drop them at Nokia Care Centres.

  9. Nicole says:

    I am curious why they don’t have recycling bins for electronics around in singapore along with the other recycling bins, it would make it much easier for people and more people would probably take the effort to recycle them.

    What happens to the electronics that is thrown in the normal trash bins?

    Thank you.

    • Eugene says:

      Most people usually sell their used electronics and not put them in the recycling bins. If there’s a National Recycling Programme where you stay, you can use the recycling bag or bin for the electronics. There are also recycling bins by companies as mentioned in the post.

  10. Herald says:

    Hi Eugene,

    Could you please tell, is it possible for me alone
    to extract metals from electronic boards.

    Thank you.

    • Eugene says:

      Hi Herald, are you saying that you wish to extract the metals yourself? You would need strong chemicals to extract the metal from the circuit boards. Not advisable.

  11. filly ho says:

    Hi< i have an intention to set up a small e waste plant in INDONESIA,
    could anyone give guidance on the steps and capital needed ?
    Thanks a lot

  12. filly ho says:

    Hi,I need favour…

    I intented to start an e-waste biz in Indonesia.
    would be very appreciate if you could guide the steps along and also the estimated capital needed ?

    (excluding land and warehouse / plant as we have it alredy)


  13. bharath says:

    Its a good that there is a business which can recycle the e waste.I am from India and like to set up an e waste industry which can cater in a state in india.

  14. eunice says:

    Can we recycle batteries in singapore? And where can we dispose them off?

  15. liyana says:

    ohhh nice siak

  16. beverly says:

    From what I understand, most of the household e-waste (like TVs, PCs, notebooks, etc) are sold to the karang guni men since there aren’t any accessible collection points for e-waste (as far as i’m aware, again). Considerig that, do you have any idea what the karang guni men do with the e-waste they collect? Do they dismantle it and sell of the valuable metal bits to scrap metal collectors? do they sell them to recycling companies? Do you know what proportion of household e-waste in singapore is actually recycled? Thanks.

  17. choonsearn says:

    do you think that the collection of e-products by karang-guni is actually considered recycling. Because they would usually amass them and try to fix them. If they fail to fix them, then they would just keep them aside don’t they? Then do you think it is a environmentally healthy way to treat the e-products? Also these karang-guni actually only accept specific products? Sorry for spamming the question ><

    • Eugene says:

      Hi choonsearn, I think the karang-guni sell the items to second-hand traders, who repair and refurbish them for resale. So strictly speaking, this is considered as reuse. Recycling is when the items are collected and broken down for the recovery of precious metals and other material.

  18. choonsearn says:

    ohhh true. Thanks! hmm totally unrelated to this article, was wondering if u have any inkling on how NEA calculate NRP participation rate? Cause i was quite surprise to see that it is at a high 63+% considering that a survey that i did showed that not many people participate actively in this initiative

  19. Joanne says:

    Freecycling as Eugene mentioned is coordinated via yahoo group. Simply register and email what you have to offer or what you want to have. Lots of electronics given away for free here.

    Give and take for free! Moderators in the group makes sure everything behaves. There is a group almost all over the world. SG group here: http://groups.freecycle.org/SgFreecycle/description

  20. Christine says:

    i finding recycle website to recycle my sony camera …
    Do you have any idea of web that do provide this service?

  21. Benjamin says:

    I have some old electronics (toys, wires, gadgets, etc.) that do not function any more and are not reusable, but I want to get rid of it in a more environmental and responsible manner than simply throwing it down the rubbish chute. Is there any convenient way to get rid of it, like an electronic waste dropoff point nearby? Or if I separate it from my normal rubbish, will it be taken care of by the rubbish collector?

    I live in Pasir Ris, by the way.

  22. we can send you about 10 tons electronc scrap monthly
    contact us if you are interesting

  23. Do you have any updated information about Ewaste? Is there any new policy/location whereby I can drop off used batteries or small household electronics? I can’t imagine any company is going to bother with my 30 used batteries and 2 broken electronic toys, but there must be a place where everyone can contribute their ewaste. Collectively, the large pile is worthwhile!

  24. Thomas says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Do you know any commpany want to buy used IT products? How about faculty DVD players?

    We would like to sell off all these items.

  25. sanjeev says:


    I know organizations in Singapore who are willing to dispose off electronic waste for which I am finiding vendors. Can you provide details about the vendors?


  26. sam says:

    I want buy some defective cisco switches and routers , anybody have or know where can get contact me [email protected]

  27. used amplifiers speakers etc says:

    i am a exporter from india i visit singapore twice in a month /i purchase used amps,speakers,cameras,laptops and audio related used items

  28. manchang says:

    Description: Dear Sir/ Madam.
    Good day, I am Manchang Emmanuel from Cameroon.
    I am very happy to be in contact with your company we have lot of wast materia in cameroon,
    email………[email protected]

  29. It is good for our environment. Recycling is very good process for us.Electronic waste causes many hazards in the human health.Your blog is very educative & well understand.Thanks for the post.

  30. Shawna says:

    Great site, and great link to NEA’s list of collectors. But it seems that this is mainly for business or large scale recycling. While many of us are aware of recycling depositories and Cash Converter, etc, I am not sure where I can give my used household/IT electronics and/or extra cables to, and I do not want to travel all the way to Tuas just for 1 item. Thank you in advance for your advise.

  31. audrey says:

    we have a number of electronics items to dispose, is there any recycling companies that can help us to collect for recycling at FOC?

  32. Jan says:

    Hi –
    was wondering if there is a company like GreenDisk in Singapore to recycle old CD jewel cases.

  33. Shahdat Ullah says:

    I am from Bangladesh. Certainly we have large quantity of E-Waste such as PC-Main Board/Ram/Sound Card/Agp Card/Mobile Phone Circuit Board & many other valuable electronic circuit board/Peripheral for E-Recycling.If you have any interest on above mentioned product please feel free to give us any inquiry. Thanks.Shahadat.

  34. Sara Choo says:

    Do earpiece fall under e-waste?

  35. Ong says:


    I imported cheap analog watches a few years back and has since terminated the business. I am left with quite a few cartons of watches which I do not know how to dispose of them. I do not know which ones are working and which are not (some of them may have their plastic cover to the battery still intact.) The watches come in plastic boxes. Do you know anyone who can recycle the e-waste can contact me by email.

    Thank you.


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