In an age of digital technology and cyberspace, we’re so heavily invested in electronics and devices that we rarely even notice what a huge part of our daily lives they’ve become. As with most things that we consume, there’s bound to be waste; and at the rate we’re consuming technology and hardware – with something newer and better popping up every other week – e-waste has become something we need to seriously take note of.
With a vision to promote sustainable practice within the tech industry, as well as to champion a new culture in the region that carves a healthy cycle of electronic consumerism, myhalo was launched and has since embarked on their quest to achieve zero e-waste.
Considered a first of its type in the world, myhalo promotes learning and changing the way we view our mobile device lifespans, highlighting a circular economy and the impacts of e-waste on the environment through both a physical and online space.
An innovative tech wizard in his own right, we find out more about the impacts of e-waste and myhalo’s mission from Founder Mr Tan Ching Hwee.
Even with our extremely heavy reliance on electronics and digital technology, many people still do not realise or understand the extent of e-waste on our environment.
In 2022, WEEEforum estimates that out of the 16 billion mobile phones possessed worldwide, 5.3 billion will become Waste, and only a small fraction are properly disposed of – even less are then put back into the circular economy.
There are many precious metals, such as gold, silver, and copper, that can be extracted from phones. If they are not properly disposed of, it will result in heavy pollution of our environment. For example, burying these devices will cause heavy metals to seep into our underground water, yet incinerating them will release poisonous gases into our environment.
We always picture “waste” differently, so how exactly can we do our part to minimise e-waste?
It’s not actually about finding a place to dispose of e-waste as there are e-waste disposal bins at convenient and strategic locations around the island. I think the main problem lies in the fact that there are no established processes or services on the market to properly determine whether devices are e-waste. Thus, to most consumers, without the resources to determine whether a device is e-waste, the most typical decision would be to hoard it at home. This is especially so when the estate of these devices are relatively small.
At myhalo, we are encouraging consumers to join our community so that we can better share best practices to “decommission” their devices. At the same time, we also provide them with avenues to participate in a circular economy by upcycling or donating their devices with us, rescuing and extending the useful lifespan of their devices through proper maintenance or minor repairs, and buying an in-circulation or pre-circulation device from us when they need to use it and trade it back in once the need ceases.
How far-reaching is the impact of e-waste on our future?
Global e-waste generation is projected to increase 30% from 59.4 metric tons in 2022 to 74.7 metric tons in 2030.
Not forgetting that we are now embedding more and more electronic components for our smart homes and smart toys, these numbers could even be much higher. E-waste is the fastest growing category of waste right now, while the number of actions taken to solve e-waste is still the lowest amongst other waste.
Is e-waste a really critical concern? Or is it still in its early stages?
In my opinion, we’re already at a critical stage. Ownership of electronics has reached saturation stages in developed countries. In developing countries, the numbers are still growing exponentially. However, solutions on the market to solve e-waste are still relatively superficial, unlike with many other waste types.
Are there other alternatives out there? How else should people deal with old, unwanted, or outdated electronics?
Yes, there are alternatives on the market. Many people actually get their friends to help them with data migration and data erasure, as well as offloading their used devices on platforms like Carousell.
What we do at myhalo is provide a single point of contact that helps consumers deal with unwanted electronics conveniently, safely, and responsibly. Our services aid and resolve consumers’ concerns with data, trade-in price, and many more, before returning their devices back into the circular economy through our proprietary business process.
Do e-waste concerns affect only those with high levels of disposable cash?
No. In fact, our focus is the opposite. Those with high levels of disposable cash already have a free economy driven by market forces.
Our key to solving e-waste issues focuses on those which are partially working, or not working to the owner’s satisfaction. These owners would usually face difficulties on determining whether to “condemn” their devices as e-waste. This is where we really shine. The way our platform is built focuses a lot more on inclusivity and adaptability so that our processes can be used across a full range of ICT devices and their varying working conditions. At myhalo, we aim to “Harness All Objects”.
How do you hope to grow myhalo? What’s the direction that you envision with the creation of communities around myhalo?
We hope to build communities and spread awareness of zero e-waste lifestyles. Only with communities of a critical mass is it possible for us to reach our vision of a zero e-waste world.
Through initiatives such as a study to determine just how much carbon footprint a device can reduce simply by extending its life, myhalo is taking their first steps towards substantial e-waste reduction.
Boasting a $1.5million Quote & Go system, they’re able to intelligently and accurately assess the trade-in value of our digital devices, churning out over 150,000 possible outcomes with a guaranteed trade-in price so we can conveniently and easily consider our best options!
Taking cue from what’s already happening in European countries like France and Germany, myhalo paves the way forward for us over here to engage in the next steps of true sustainability.
Have devices at home that you’d like to trade-in or dispose of efficiently? Find more information about myhalo on their website here.