From Waste to Opportunity: How Greater Kuala Lumpur Redefines E-Waste Management and Recycling

Electronic waste – or e-waste – has become an imminent global concern as we embrace the digital age. These discarded electronic products, no longer fit for their original purpose, range from everyday devices like smartphones, laptops and televisions to large appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners.

According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 report, the world generated 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste in 2019 alone and is expected to produce 74.7 million tons by 2030. Only 17.4% of these discarded electronic items have been officially collected and recycled. Meanwhile, Malaysia is no exception to this concern. To date, the country generates approximately 365,000 tons of e-waste annually.

While these figures may be alarming, they also present a unique opportunity for sustainable practices and economic development. Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL), a rapidly developing sustainable tech hub, is capitalising on this opportunity by pioneering robust e-waste management initiatives. Here are the reasons why.

E-Waste Management in Greater Kuala Lumpur: Tipping Points

Regulatory compliance
In Malaysia, the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations of 2005 sets out strict regulations for the management of e-waste under Code SW110. This regulatory framework imposes significant responsibilities on businesses to manage their electronic waste appropriately. As a result, most businesses in the region have effective e-waste management systems.
Economic incentive
E-waste recycling offers a lucrative source of recoverable materials such as gold, silver, copper, and rare earth metals. Remember: Malaysia generated nearly 300,000 tons of e-waste containing these precious metals in 2020. With the global raw material value estimated at $57 billion, Malaysia's e-waste is an urban mine. Companies leading e-waste management and recycling initiatives can generate additional revenue from here while spearheading global efforts to conserve resources.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Aligning with the global sustainability agenda, Malaysia is making strides towards achieving the United Nations SDGs. One of these goals, Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal 12), emphasises the environmentally sound management of all wastes.  In line with the Malaysian government’s long-term roadmap to curb waste nationwide, companies investing in e-waste management in GKL can expect to be supported as they perform their sustainable development and corporate responsibility.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
EPR, a key aspect of the Basel Convention (to which Malaysia is a signatory), calls for electronic goods producers and importers to manage their products' end-of-life. This responsibility extends to post-consumer stages, reshaping e-waste strategies across GKL and the country.

Fuelled by these tipping points, key stakeholders across GKL's public and private sectors have adopted a holistic e-waste management strategy. Discover these change-makers and how they transform e-waste dilemmas into sustainable development opportunities.

Successful E-Waste Management Initiatives in Greater Kuala Lumpur

Ministry of Environment and Water
Commonly referred to as Kementerian Alam Sekitar dan Air (KASA), the Ministry of Environment and Water is a central figure in moulding Malaysia's e-waste management framework. With the successful launch of the National E-Waste Management System (NEW-MSS) app in 2021, KASA has established an effective e-waste management structure. This system, which oversees everything from collection to disposal, operates in GKL and nationwide.
Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)
MCMC's rebranded mobile e-waste recycling initiative, Kitar, embodies the spirit of giving old devices a 'new breath'. To take this initiative to greater heights, the organisation partnered with various designated universal service providers, such as Celcom Axiata, Digi Telecommunications, Maxis, Redtone, Telekom Malaysia, and Webe.
TM Recycling IT
Beyond just repurposing items, TM Recycling IT is a Klang-based e-waste firm that leverages a circular economy model. By extracting and reintegrating precious metals from e-waste back into the manufacturing chain, the company effectively reduces the need for virgin material extraction, promoting sustainable manufacturing practices.
IKEA Malaysia and Ikano Power Centre
Embedding sustainability into their operations, these companies and long-time business collaborators have established e-waste collection points within their premises. This move encourages shoppers to responsibly dispose of e-waste items like lightbulbs and batteries. Ultimately, it redefines the retail experience by integrating sustainability at the consumer level, reinforcing a lifestyle of responsible consumption.
ERTH: Electronic & E-waste Recycling
ERTH aims to recycle e-waste responsibly and reduce harmful landfill accumulation. Founded in 2021, it employs cutting-edge processes to recycle e-waste, extracting valuable metals while appropriately treating hazardous substances. As a recipient of the inaugural Maxis Awards, the organisation has joined forces with the telecommunications giant to accelerate e-waste management efforts in Malaysia.
UrbanR Recycle+
UrbanR Recycle+ has modernised e-waste management by providing a door-to-door collection service and the counsel of qualified IT technicians. Using technology to track and collect e-waste from consumers, the enterprise bridges convenience with sustainability, enabling GKL citizens to participate actively in e-waste recycling.

No Waste, Stay Safe: The Way Forward in Greater Kuala Lumpur

These GKL-based e-waste initiatives symbolise more than mere waste reduction; they signal a transformative shift towards sustainable living. By fostering eco-conscious habits, championing the circular economy, and safeguarding public health, these programs epitomise GKL's steadfast dedication to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

In short, GKL's proactive approach to the global e-waste challenge affirms its commitment to harmonious growth. With a robust growth trajectory integrated with a vision for sustainability, GKL has firmly positioned itself as an attractive hub for investors intent on shaping a future-ready, eco-friendly urban landscape.

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