Not every company that imports electrical and electronic appliances would think of such an initiative to alleviate critical environmental impacts on Samoa.
Samoa’s most active e-waste initiative is being led by one of the biggest importers of electronic appliances and white-ware products, Samoa Stationery and Books.
SSAB plays a major role in minimising and recycling e-waste through proper disposal methods, in a project of love to help protect Samoa’s pristine environment.
This week SSAB was happy to announce that Ford Samoa has stepped in to support by offering the use of a vehicle for e-waste collections.
SSAB Managing Director Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai acknowledged the support offered by Ford, where the use of a second hand double cab vehicle would be offered on certain days of the month for e-waste collections.
Tofilau says the assistance will help the SSAB team to go around and collect Hewlett Packard (HP) discarded e-waste such as toners and cartridges.
Since 2018 SSAB has worked closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and other Government and private sector partners, on collaborative ways to help lessen the environment impacts of e-waste through proper disposal.
At the launch of Ford Samoa’s assistance to the e-waste project, Tofilau said, “During these trying times, SSAB maintains its commitment and will continue to work hard with the assistance of the Government of Samoa to continue this project,” Tofilau said.
“I acknowledged Ford Samoa for the helping hand by giving us this vehicle to assist our e-waste team in collecting the discarded HP toners and cartridges,” she added.
SSAB are sole agents for the popular Hewlett Packard brand of electrical products in Samoa, and the initiative is called the HP Take Back programme.
The e-waste of all Hewlett Packard genuine products from Samoa, is collected and shipped back to HP New Zealand.
The concern raised by Tofilau is the lack of awareness of the potential negative impacts, as well as the rapidly increasing use of computers, monitors, printers, televisions and other electronic products in Samoa.
“When these products are incinerated or placed in landfills, they pose health risks due to the hazardous materials they contain,” Tofilau explained.
Tofilau says proper disposal methods must be applied, and the partnership between SSAB and MNRE, and others who have now joined such as Ford Samoa, will help protect the environment for future generations.
At an e-waste workshop hosted by SSAB in 2019, then CEO of MNRE Ulu Bismarck Crawley had said the Ministry fully supported the push to manage e-waste better, and the Government’s role is to regulate and establish good policy.
“Working with the private sector, and other organisations to manage e-waste is a priority, as it implements the national waste management strategy that was launched last year”.
Tofilau had said at the time that a 2014 country assement conducted by SPREP highlighted the need for improvement between partnerships and all stakeholders in tackling the e-waste problem.
The issue was then also reaffirmed in SPREP’s 2018 e-waste review.
“For me as a Samoan and a business owner, it was an eye opener when I realised that no one was fully in charge of e-waste in Samoa.
“As there wasn’t any entity taking the lead in disposing of e-watse, most of the e-waste is filling up our landfills.”
“Tackling E-waste is a collective responsibility amongst SSAB, its relevant partners and stakeholders,” says Tofilau.