ALBA Group is a German waste management company creating a zero-waste economy by reclaiming precious materials for secondary use. Skilled in deploying collection programs to recover e-waste, Singapore’s National Environmental Agency (NEA) has awarded ALBA a license to develop an e-waste collection system for the Southeast Asian country.
Singapore is home to more than 5.7 million people, yet it generates over 60,000 tons of e-waste annually. To remedy this, the Singapore government is making producers responsible for the end of their product’s life.
Why Does it Matter?
- Many electronics contain toxic substances like lead, PVC, and mercury. When these chemicals sit in landfills, they absorb into the soil, polluting the groundwater and air. For context, e-waste constitutes 2% of the United States’ landfills but contributes to 70% of overall toxic waste.
- Various rare and precious metals are used in electronics. Recovering these components means less energy will be used to mine for new metals.
- In the US, there is no uniformity between the federal levels and states on what is and not prohibited for discarding e-waste. Setting minimum requirements across the board can incentive more actionable recycling plans.
- As consumers and producers become more responsible for recycling e-waste, global awareness will likely rise, pressuring other governments and corporates to take greater action on a diverse array of recycling measures.
- Increased market value for recycled materials will drive more innovation in the space. For the roughly $4B e-waste recycling market, government action can spark new, efficient, diverse recycling methods.
This initiative by a tech-heavy nation in Singapore signals to the rest of the world how problematic e-waste really is. Seeing the nation contract with a multinational firm in ALBA marks the importance of recycling, and having a reputation for success in similar programs, ALBA will make a large dent in Singapore’s e-waste problem.
What will be interesting to see over the first year of this program is how effective the messaging and public perception is about this new e-waste collection program in action. How well will citizens partake in the program and how will ALBA and the Singapore government educate people about the problem of e-waste? Many nations will be watching how successful this collection program is and see how it replicate it within their own borders.
About The Author
Impact Investment Fellow
Matt is an Impact Investment Fellow with Vectors Angels as a part of the organization’s sustainability team. While most disciplined in power generation and energy storage, Matt takes on a wide array of technologies in the sector.
Leveraging these skills, Matt works with early-stage startups on fundraising and go-to-market strategies, understanding their market, and competitor due diligence.
Matt holds a BS in Finance and Economics from Boston College and an MEng from Boston University in Materials Science & Engineering. Matt’s graduate research and passion focused on the impact fundraising mechanisms and financial institutions have on the success of startups in the renewable energy and cleantech industries. His current interests involve developing new financial instruments to fund demo and pilot “tough tech” projects and closing the commercialization gap.