Few recycling centres can handle e-waste, says recycler

  • Community
  • Friday, 16 Jun 2017

Cheong (right) and a fellow worker checking on the bag of e-waste at the recyclable collection centre in Menglembu.

SUN Soon Yik Sdn Bhd, in Menglembu, Ipoh, collects e-waste from various sources including shops, households, factories, schools and government departments.

Its general manager Vincent Cheong said there were only a few recyclable collection centres in Perak and none was able to do full recovery processing of electronic waste (e-waste).

He said items such as computer units, monitors, keyboards, smart phones or other peripherals gathered at his centre would be dismantled to separate plastics from metals and other materials like rubber.

“We are a partial recycling centre and we do not recycle or process the e-waste.

“There are other full recovery recycling centres in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor and Melaka to do so, but not in Perak,” he told StarMetro.

“They deal with the toxic e-waste, recovering precious materials like platinum or gold through chemical treatment,” he said.

“Computer motherboard, integrated circuit board or other electronic peripherals would release heavy metal that can be hazardous when it comes into contact with water,” he added.

He said some of the toxic components found in e-waste were mercury, nickel, lead, cadmium and lithium, which could be harmful to the human body.

The company will try to repair the disused computers collected first.

“If the item is beyond repair, then it will be sent for recycling.

“If it can be repaired or reused, the item will be sold to willing buyers,” Cheong said.

“Last year, we got 400 computer units from a local university and 300 of them were repaired and reused,” he added.

Cheong said the e-waste were usually sent to his centre by e-waste generators registered with the State Department of Environment (DoE).

“Sometimes, some charitable bodies will also have e-waste collection drive and they will send the items to us.

“We also collect disused items in bulk from shops, schools or governmental agencies,” he said, adding that they received an average of about two tonnes of e-waste per month.

“The state (DoE) always monitor all operations at recycling companies. They will have all the data on e-waste,” he added.

Cheong said developed countries such as Japan had a “take back” arrangement between manufacturers and consumers.

“For example, when buying a monitor for RM100, the consumer will need to pay an extra 10% for recycling or disposal purposes.

“When the monitor breaks down, the person would then send it to a collection centre to get the rebate,” he said.

“We are really lagging behind the developed countries, we lack these collection centres here in Malaysia,” he added.

Cheong also said public awareness of e-waste was sorely needed.

“The government or related authorities should create more awareness through mainstream and social media.

“They need to explain what happens to e-waste and how to dispose of them,” he said, adding that the (DoE) was doing a good job in monitoring all recycling centres to ensure no e-waste goes to the landfill.

“Education is a must. I can safely say that about 40% to 50% of the population do not know what e-waste is,” he added.

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