Mobile e-waste recycling safe, adheres to standards

Every one million units of handphones recycled recover an estimated of 16,000kg of copper, 350kg of silver, 34kg of gold and 15kg of palladium depending on the model and brands. ― AFP pic
Every one million units of handphones recycled recover an estimated of 16,000kg of copper, 350kg of silver, 34kg of gold and 15kg of palladium depending on the model and brands. ― AFP pic

BUTTERWORTH, Oct 3 — The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) initiative at ensuring unwanted electronics, particularly mobile phones and their related devices, are disposed of safely goes beyond just spreading the message or collecting the electronic waste (e-waste). 

The commission has also ensured that the discarded products collected under its mobile e-waste programme themed “Old Phone, New Life” are safely recycled or disposed of using technology and systems that are environmentally sound and in accordance with standards. 

It is for this reason that MCMC has partnered with Shan Poornam Metals Sdn Bhd here, which is among the pioneers in recycling e-waste in the country. 

The company’s plant at the Prai Industrial Estate, Penang, utilises advanced technology that meets international standards with certification such as the ISO 14001:2004, OHSAS 18001:2007 and ISO 9001:2008 from Afnor Certification, based in the United Kingdom. 

In an interview, Shan Poornam chief executive officer S. Selvakumar said e-waste haphazardly disposed of could have an adverse impact on human health and the environment. 

“The electroplating process in computer circuit production involves various types of heavy metals and chemicals such as organic and inorganic acids, and solvents that can be dangerous to health if they are not disposed of properly. We have the method and equipment to do it,” he said.

The mobile e-waste is collected and sent to the plant.  The discarded phones are manually screened and the units that can be saved are refurbished and sent back to the counters for sale, after the devices undergo the data wiping process. 

For those that cannot be refurbished, Shan Poornam will ensure proper disposal and recovery of useable materials.

The mobile e-waste recycling process contributed to 350,000 metric tonnes of e-waste recycled, converting them to environmentally safe products such as secondary aluminium, alloy ingots, platinum, gold, palladium and silver.

Every one million units of handphones recycled recover an estimated of 16,000kg of copper, 350kg of silver, 34kg of gold and 15kg of palladium depending on the model and brands. 

Equipped with the first integrated household e-waste recycling and chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) recovery process, 10 million pieces of aluminium ingot weighing approximately 50,000 metric tonnes were produced by January last year, thus achieving a saving of up to 400,000 metric tonnes of bauxite, 635,000,000 kwh power and 0.44 million metric tonnes of “carbon equivalent”.  

Driven by its commitment towards improving environmental protection and conservation using green technology, the plant has received the country’s highest award for environmental protection, the Prime Minister’s Hibiscus Award, besides other accolades.

In the international arena, Shan Poornam received awards from United Arab Emirates and Europe for Excellence and Leadership in environmental solution.

The management is aspiring to be the top e-waste recycling plant with its customised cutting edge technology and research-based team to conserve natural resources and ensure safe environment for the future generation.