Last week’s Electronics Recycling Asia Conference in Singapore touched on the circular economy, industry certifications and the diverse systems in place to recover e-scrap in Southeast Asia.
Running from the Nov. 10-13, the conference drew 138 attendees and attracted 18 exhibiting companies. Below is a rundown of some of the key moments from the show.
The principal focus of the conference’s first day was an assessment of how original equipment manufacturers view the trend toward a “circular economy.” In an assessment of the European move toward the approach, David Scuderi with Samsung Electronics Europe stressed reuse will be an increasingly core focus but recycling will always be key to this “new policy mindset.” Scuderi announced from the stage that Samsung has opened a refurbished electronics operation in the U.K. that resells Samsung devices, and indicated this model may be rolled out in other countries. He also said Samsung will move aggressively to expand the use of recycled materials in its products over the next five years.
In another presentation, Umicore’s global sales manager, Thierry Van Kerckhoven, provided attendees with a look at the relevance of industry certification. Van Kerchoven highlighted how certification leads to harmonization and helps improve the industry’s reputation. As a result, he suggested the industry come up with one worldwide certification system.
Darrell Kendall, the director of the environmental, health and safety certification RIOS, said such global coordination may, in fact, come to fruition sooner rather than later. Released in 2006, RIOS will soon issue a “state-of-the-art” revision to its standards that will be applicable globally, Kendall said. He also noted that RIOS is now a separate entity from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, explaining it is self-governed and funded, with more than 300 firms now certified or in the certification process.
The past, present and future of electronics recycling in Southeast Asia was portrayed by Fons Krist of Aurubis, the copper recycling firm. Krist noted some 140 collection centers have been established in Singapore, with DHL providing the local collection service. In Malaysia, 237 processors, including numerous informal refurbishment workshops, are licensed by the federal government. In Thailand, only licensed firms can provide e-scrap recycling service, although the country is seeing a rise in the number of illegal operators. In Indonesia, the government has licensed eight operators. Singapore and neighboring Malaysia are taking the lead in terms of pushing e-scrap recovery forward.
Organizers of the Electronics Recycling Asia Conference announced the show will head to Hong Kong in 2016, running from Nov. 15-18.