Photo by Kowit Phothisan

Recycling a kettle in Singapore: bye old friend

The thrilling tale of how I tried (for 3 weeks 😰) to dispose responsibly of my old kettle and finally succeeded 🌁

I have this old kettle, inherited from the girl who rented the apartment before us. One day I realised the time has come to say goodbye…

I also had a couple of batteries, so I thought I’ll find a recycling point where I can dispose of both.

I started off simple—googled ‘recycling points Singapore’.

I went to the NEA website and, after a look around, realised I probably need to look for e-waste recycling bins.

The e-waste management page may have a lot of useful info, except for where to actually recycle e-waste (or so it seemed). So I navigated to another page: ‘Recycling & Collection Points’. At the bottom of that page I noticed this:

E-waste and lighting collection points (please refer to E-Waste Management -> Where to Recycle E-Waste for more details)

True enough, I went back to the e-waste management page and found the tiny link leading to a map. Yay!

The map said there is a bin (non-restricted area) right opposite my house. Joy! 🎯 I took my kettle and went to investigate.

Alas, after 20 minutes wondering around I realised there is no bin. Or maybe it is there, but I don’t recognise it (Do I need to look for a bin that says ‘e-waste’ on it?) 🙄

I went to the internet for help. The people of the Zero Waste SG Facebook group were fantastic. I got a reply almost instantly.

As suggested, I opened the Starhub site and saw that there is a bin right next to my work. Joy!

And this time I found! 🤩

But, but, but, what is this….no household appliances, no batteries?? 😤
The NEA website clearly says that e-waste includes household appliances and batteries.

I read a bit more, and looks like lithium batteries are accepted by Starhub, but, honestly, tell me, how many people know the difference between alkaline and lithium batteries?

I felt defeated 😿

Ok, time to regroup 💪🏻

If I can’t recycle my poor old kettle and alkaline batteries at the Starhub bins, where can I?

Perhaps at the Tzu Chi recycling points? Only open every second Sunday, but worth a try!

Or maybe at the City Square Mall?

I decided to try City Square Mall first. Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrum-roll, please: they took my kettle! 😍

All you need to do is to bring your e-waste to the customer care counter on the second floor. They said they send the waste to Sembcorp ❔for recycling.

It would be interesting to find out what is going to happen to my old kettle now and what exactly Sembcorp does…

p.s. The fact that I forgot to bring my old batteries to the City Square Mall is a bit of an anticlimax, but that’s life…

What I learnt is that the information on how and where to recycle is out there, but it could be organised better. And some of it is missing: like how the bins look like and which recycling points accept what.

If we want people to recycle, it has to take 30 seconds (not 3 weeks and multiple attempts) to find out how to do it.

In case you wonder why it took me 3 weeks—it’s because I did this on weekends and weekday evenings, whenever I had time to spare. I feel it’s a very realistic approach to recycling. I want to do it, but I won’t always prioritise it over other chores.

Complaining is easy, so I really should do something about this—something more than a wonder-who-will-read-this Medium article…

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