Consumer support needed for campaign’s success

MCMC had launched its mobile e-waste programme themed 'Old Phone, New Life' in August last year to collect mobile e-waste devices through a joint recycling programme with the private sector. — Picture by Choo Choy May
MCMC had launched its mobile e-waste programme themed 'Old Phone, New Life' in August last year to collect mobile e-waste devices through a joint recycling programme with the private sector. — Picture by Choo Choy May

IPOH, Oct 3 — More cooperation is needed from the public to make the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission's (MCMC)’s mobile e-waste campaign a resounding success. 

Since the inception of the initiative last year, some of the telecommunication companies on board with the campaign have only collected between 200 and 350 phones in the northern regions of the country. 

Digi Telecommunications Principal of Government Affairs and Projects Alex Kuik Teck Seng said the response towards the campaign appeared to be low, as only over 200 devices had been collected in 23 centres so far nationwide.

“It could be better. Customers are not always keen to dispose of their phones, even if they are not working anymore. Perhaps they feel the phone has a sentimental value,” Kuik said.

“Then, there are always those who want to hang on to the phone, feeling they want to wait until they can exchange it for something useful or interesting.”

MCMC had launched its mobile e-waste programme themed “Old Phone, New Life” in August last year to collect mobile e-waste devices through a joint recycling programme with the private sector while educating the public about the importance of disposing such items via an environmentally-safe mode.

Since its inception, the programme has seen 74 collection bins for e-waste set up across the country where the public can drop their old mobile devices and accessories.

Recyclers will gather the waste and transport them to a facility in Penang, where urban mining will take place.

The recovered metals can be used by several different industries such as jewellery, plating, electronics, plumbing, automotive, and art foundries while the plastics can be recycled into new products such as garden furniture, license plate frames, non-food containers and replacement automotive parts.

With MCMC spearheading this programme, several entities are also playing an important cooperative role, including Malaysian Technical Standards Forum Bhd (MTSFB), Altel Communications, Celcom Axiata, Digi Telecommunications, Maxis, TM and Umobile. 

Other partners include Universiti Putra Malaysia, Lions Club of KB Blossoms, Courts Malaysia and several private schools while Shan Poornam Metals Sdn Bhd has been appointed as the recycling partner.

Celcom Axiata Northern regional sales manager Akryl Azam Arudin said the company had managed to collect around 350 devices from 11 branches in Peninsular Malaysia. 

“So far, outlets in the city get more response for this initiative. City folk may have more exposure to recycling initiatives such as this one,” he said.

“Other contributing factors include the level of income and purchasing power among the urban communities. They tend to buy and upgrade their devices more regularly.”

Maxis Berhad Northern region head of retail for sales and services Farizul Arif Abdul Mutalib said the company had collected 210 mobile devices, 3,514 accessories and 73 items like laptops and earphones from 11 participating branches.

“Of course, the response can be improved, perhaps by placing more collection bins around the country. It is also important to raise awareness among the public so they can support this initiative,” he said.

To address this, telcos promote the campaign via their floor employees, who tell customers about the collection initiative when they walk in.

Each company has also taken their own approach to sell the idea to their users with various campaigns and special deals.

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