If you think individualistic, consumerist lifestyles are largely to be blamed for our pressing electronic waste problem in Singapore, think again. Enterprises, both big and small, have played a critical role in contributing to the electronic waste crisis in Singapore. According to the UN Global E-waste Monitor 2020 report, global e-waste is predicted to grow to a colossal 74 million metric tons by 2030. Research also showed that Asia produced 24.9 million tons of e-waste in 2019, with Singapore being Southeast Asia’s biggest e-waste generator per capita. Picture over 200 Airbus A380 superjumbos in a massive hangar; that’s how much e-waste Singapore disposes which also comprise products that are merely 10 years old.
Globally, e-waste has become one of the most rapidly growing waste streams and has irrevocably damaged the environmental health of the world. Although the government has announced the implementation of a new e-waste disposal system during Budget 2021, a devastating impact may still be on the horizon as thousands of desktops and other computer peripherals are set to become obsolete with hybrid work arrangements fast becoming a new norm. A distributed workforce has inevitably led to enterprises rallying to purchase newer IT equipment, causing unnecessary short-term investments in technology and data management concerns. Unsurprisingly, technology innovations are also driving demand for newer devices resulting in an accelerated rate of obsoletion of older devices.
With heaps of outmoded electronic devices, there is, unfortunately, only one thing for enterprises to do: disposal. However, a hurdle that numerous SMEs face is that they simply do not know how to manage their e-waste sustainably and ethically and where their e-waste will ultimately end up. There is also the element of security for electronic devices with sensitive data, which means enterprises need to ensure they dispose of their e-waste responsibly, lest it falls into the hands of opportunistic cybercriminals.
If more enterprises were to leverage sustainable e-waste management, they would realise that the benefits of it far outweigh its disadvantages as it presents them with the ideal opportunity to optimise their resources and redistribute cost savings to generate new revenue streams. The transition will also help to deliver better business value as it improves profitability and security. Reassessing one’s repertoire of electronic devices is also essential as enterprises can then see the financial benefits of upgrading their IT instead of disposing them regularly. It also helps maximise the value of their IT purchases thus, reducing unnecessary spending.
A more holistic approach is needed for the disposal of e-waste in a secure and cost-effective manner. This is a focus at HKBN JOS to enable our customers to embark on their digital transformation journeys, without having to worry about their legacy systems. As a trusted technology partner in Singapore, HKBN JOS understands the unique business needs of each organisation we serve and our e-waste management solution offers our customers flexibility and cost savings at every stage of their digitalisation efforts. This includes complimentary professional decommissioning services at affordable prices with some customers even enjoying a buy-back rebate for certain devices. HKBN JOS’ end-to-end services ensure that our customers are able to upgrade their technology, while taking care of the resultant e-waste.
To date, we have commissioned a recognised service provider to help collect and process over 81,000 kilograms of recyclable materials, food waste and over 6,000 kilograms of e-waste. We also strongly advocate for proper waste management with our environmental handbook to ensure that the flow of waste is effectively managed for our valued customers.
We believe the uptick in the deployment of device-as-a-service is an encouraging start for enterprises looking to establish sustainable e-waste management as it allows customers to use their resources optimally and tailored to their needs, further extending a device’s lifecycle. More enterprises should steer away from the existing ‘take, make and dispose’ model and adopt a more conscious approach by championing their proper e-waste initiatives and programmes. Enterprises need to utilise a multi-pronged approach to fully capitalise on the true value of sustainable e-waste management as it not only helps to protect our planet but significantly reduces the unauthorised data access and security risks, ensuring that their most valuable data assets remain uncompromised.
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