WHILE you are merrily getting wasted as you toss back the champagne and eggnog during the holiday season, think twice before you toss out your old electronics.
As we welcome in the New Year, it is almost traditional to welcome in some shiny new stuff too!
Christmas and the coming year of the rooster are accompanied by the splurging of gifts. New stuff comes in to replace the old — a smarter smartphone, a bigger tablet, the latest televisions with more definition than the eye could possibly see, and glitzy new laptops with all the bells and whistles to trawl the Net for yet more stuff.
As our consumption cycles, for electronic goods in particular, continue to shrink, the amount of e-waste we produce has also been steadily increasing.
So if you got a new iPad this Christmas, think twice before you chuck the old one in the trash.
How do you get rid of e‐waste responsibly this festive season?
Here is a handy list of options:
1. Make a quick buck!
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You may not need that old blu-ray player or microwave oven anymore but someone out there is sure to be looking for some electronics on the cheap. As long your product is in working condition, you should be able to recoup some of what you paid, depending on age and wear. Just snap a couple of pictures, write up a short description, and list it online and you are good to go!
If you can’t go through the Carou-Hell of hagglers, barterers, and time wasters on the Internet, Cash Converters may be the most hassle-free way of getting a quick buck out of your old electronics. They also buy various other items (full list here), and pay in cash for added convenience. If you have multiple items or bulky items, you can even arrange for a home pick-up.
Upgrading to a new phone? Look for phone deals that offer a good rebate when trading in your old phone. If that fails, head down to one of these stores to get a good price on your used mobile phones. Even a five-year-old iPhone can fetch up to $60 if it’s still in good working condition.
The smaller handphone shops and booths that pop up around the heartlands may be worth a visit too. Common in most HDB town centres, they also trade in second-hand phones, but you may need to exercise your bargaining prowess to get the best deal.
2. Recycle And Let Someone Else Benefit.
Launched in 2012, Starhub’s RENEW (it stands for Recycling Nation’s Electronic Waste) is the most accessible recycling programme in Singapore for small electronics. With 253 bins in 185 locations, it accepts laptops, accessories, mobile phones, electronic toys, and even VCR/DVD players (full list here). All items that can fit in the 47cm by 12cm slot can be deposited. You can also call IT recycler TES-AMM (1800-8-837-266) for consultation on bulkier items.
Electronics collected here are dismantled and broken up into constituent metals and plastics that are later reused.
Similarly, Singtel’s Project LESS (Little Eco Steps) offers recycling for electronic items like mobile phones, tablets, hard drives, and Internet accessories. You can drop them in collection bins at Singtel shops at the ComCentre, Tampines Mall and Jurong Point.
Blown light bulbs and fluorescent lamps can also be recycled. They contain components like glass, metal parts, and plastics that are often reused to make new bulbs. They also contain small amounts of mercury that can be harmful to the environment if improperly disposed. Global Lamp Recyclers has collection points in the West and Ikea provides collection bins at their lighting department in-store where you can deposit old bulbs.
Electronics equipment manufacturers like HP, Dell, and Apple provide a responsible way to retire and recycle computing, printing, and imaging equipment. Just contact them for a consultation if you are looking to dispose of items in bulk.
3. Be Generous And Donate It.
If your old electronics are still in working condition, it might be a good idea to drop it off at the Salvation Army. While you may have moved one to newer and better things, those less fortunate can still find use for your old stuff. Head down to the headquarters in Bishan or to one of their booths, listed here, to make a donation
This charity connects donors with those looking for essential goods. You can look through the wish list and give away your products like mobile phones, fridges, washing machines, and vacuum cleaners to those who need it. You can also list an item that you wish to give away. Include a photo and description and charity organisations will contact you for collection when they find a matching need.
Simply give away your old stuff to whoever wants it. SGFreeCycle lets you ‘gift’ stuff you don’t need to anyone willing to come collect it. They aim to keep as many things out of our landfills as possible. It is a grassroots movement and all listings are done through its Facebook page. You can give away anything from clothes to furniture. Just ensure that they are in working order!