Photo of elderly Singaporean with Lee Hsien Loong portrait

Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli yesterday (Feb 1) announced that the government will introduce a new tax for electronic makers like Samsung to meet recycling targets. Specifically mentioning garang guni (HDB door-to-door collectors who are usually the elderly poor), the Minister said that the new regulation will fine the “informal sector” if they do not meet the targets set by the government. The “informal sector” will also include elderly cardboard collectors:

“We have to look at how we incentivise and how we put in a levy or some form of fines when producers do not meet their targets. The informal sector – such as scrap dealers and rag-and-bone men – will be made part of the system. They could be trained to recycle e-waste properly or involved in the collection process.”

Propaganda state media Straits Times said that the Minister is only learning from Sweden:

“The Republic is taking the cue from countries such as Sweden by taking on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) approach. In Sweden, around half of all e-waste gets a second life as ingredients in new products and materials.”

The new regulation and tax will be introduced in the coming Budget this month.