As TAPA’s role evolves to embrace all aspects of supply chain resilience and risk management, leveraging its knowledge, expertise and solutions across a broader cross-section of industry activities will be a key focus. In this issue, Tony Lugg, Chairman of TAPA APAC, and Roger Lee, Director of Singapore Institute of Materials Management and a TAPA APAC Board member, put forward the business case for an industry standard for the recycling of electronics in support of enhanced supply chain resilience in the technology sector …

A Reuters’ report on the ‘E-waste Recycling Market With Detail Analysis of Industry’ valued the global E-waste Recycling market at US$1.19 billion and predicted this will grow to $1.92 billion by the end of 2025, a compound average growth rate of 7.1%.

As the electronics industry is developing rapidly worldwide, the volume of electronic equipment generated is increasing at an amazing speed, as is, consequently, e-waste. These e-wastes contain lots of valuable materials or equipment that can be recycled. And e-waste also contains toxic and hazardous materials including mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium, chromium, and chemical flame retardants, which have the potential to leach into our soil and water.

Currently, the volume of e-waste that can be recycled properly is less than 20% of the total volume of e-waste generated worldwide each year. There is still a lot of work to be done to promote the development of the e-waste recycling industry.

Growing numbers of governments are beginning to make laws or taking more strict measures to restrict the incineration or fill of e-waste and to try to ban undocumented workshops of e-waste recycling. As the recycling and processing technology of e-waste is developing, the e-waste is getting re-used more properly and deeply. The cost of recycling and processing of e-waste is reducing, and the profit level of authorized e-waste recycling enterprises is increasing.

Writing for Bloomberg three years ago, technology columnist Tim Culpan, stated that in the electronics recycling business, the benchmark is to try to collect and recycle 70%, by weight, of the devices produced seven years earlier. Apple exceeded that, typically reaching 85%, including recycling some non-Apple products that customers bring in.


The Bloomberg report highlighted that Apple would have to get hold of and destroy the equivalent of more than 9 million of 2009’s iPhone 3GS models from around the world in a year. With iPhone sales alone climbing to 217 million units last year, grinding up such products is a significant growth business.


So, what happens to re-cycled technology that is re-branded and sold off. Well, ‘The Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy’ report released in 2017, warned that the global economic value of counterfeiting and piracy could reach US$2.3 trillion by 2022.


Companies such as Apple have stringent security requirements for their Recycling Service Providers (RSP). Their standards are high, and the RSPs need to be challenged to ensure conformance to Apple's requirements. The explosive growth in the electronics industry, has led to a rapidly escalating issue of end-of-life (EOL) electronics or e-waste. If the recycling efforts are not properly executed, toxic materials can be released from old electronic devices into the environment. At the same time, new cheap devices are released by manufacturers and with many new revisions on a yearly basis to entice customers to upgrade their equipment, hence further accelerate the amount of e-waste.

E-waste is growing, and with that surge comes the need for effective electronics recycling programs. According to a January 2019 report from the World Economic Forum, E-waste is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, with an estimated waste stream of 48.5 million tonnes in 2018.

An explosive growth of the technology recycling industry is expected as more people seek information on TV recycling, computer recycling, and other programs that will help them responsibly get rid of unwanted equipment ​while minimizing any risk of data or identity theft. The safe recycling of electronics is receiving increased attention from policymakers, industry, and consumers alike. There are many opportunities for recycling service providers to help the high number of consumers who are still not sure how to safely dispose of old computers, smartphones or other electronic devices. It was reported that nearly 75% of old electronics products continue to be stored in households because of the unavailability of convenient recycling options.

Major companies are working hard to encourage and facilitate recycling with checklists for their recycling service providers in the  environmental health and safety management parameter. This highlights the need to consider strongly the environment health and safety aspects as well as security requirements for recycling.

The benefits of deploying a globally recognized security standard for electronics recycling are that it creates a generic benchmark for the supply chain. The challenges for the recycling industry is to ensure they have a minimum standard in terms of security to ensure that devices avoid becoming fake products for sale on the secondary market. At the same time, global brands are understandably worried about toxic contamination caused by their products to the environment and its potential to become a public relations nightmare. So, not surprisingly, almost all the global brands such as HP, Huawei, Amazon and Microsoft also have detailed protocols for recycling their products that their contractors must adhere to.


Some areas of concern for global electronics brands, based on audits of their Recycling Service Providers (RSP), include the following:

A: Develop and implement sound security strategies, policies, processes and procedures’ in line with local regulations.

Some areas of consideration for recycling service providers cover;

1. Information Access Policy and Procedures:


            i. Information on Security Review of Standards

            ii. The documentation of IT policies

            iii. The security under information access, security compliances, personal security, security assessments

            iv. System network and security procedures


2. For recycling service providers: In the security of data requirements, for example, in the recycling of hard disk drives, the RSP must have proper procedures to ensure that hard disk drive data is deleted completely. The RSP must comply and provide evidence to demonstrate that it has met the standard for deletion of data in compliance with both government regulations and customer requirements.

3. Certificate of destruction: The ability of the company to ensure that there is a certificate of destruction once the data has been wiped out.

4. Certifications: Recycling companies do not have an industry standard created to meet customers’ requirements. Hence, this may be a window of opportunity for TAPA to develop a standard which can be applied to the industry.

5. Maintenance of at least 3 years of documentation requirements.

6. Proper procedures of weight management systems to ensure that minerals which are recycled can be correlated to the customer’s data. One example is the calibration of all weight scales on a yearly basis.

7. Control access into facilities: documentation systems; arrival and departure.


8. Reliability of Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system and constant monitoring of reliability.

B. Develop best-in-class practice to mitigate losses through fraud, diversion, negligence and inordinate risk

1. Best-in-class management

         i.            Workforce Integrity Processes (Reference TAPA FSR, Section 7)

(including background checks on all employees in the recycling industry)

       ii.            Training of all staff on security and threat awareness (Reference TAPA FSR, Section 6)


2. Physical Security System

a.       Perimeters of the recycling service provider: Ensure proper security process in place (Reference to FSR, Section 1)

b.      Outside Walls, Roof and Doors (Reference to TAPA FSR, Section 2)

c.       Office and Warehouse Entry and Exit Points (Reference to FSR, Section 3)

d.      Inside Warehouse and Office (Reference to FSR Section 4)

e.      Proper Security Systems: Design Monitoring and Response (reference to FSR 5)

f.        Additional requirements for recycling service providers (RSP): CCTV should be high resolution with an infrared system with at least 180 days recording requirements

g.       Additional requirements for RSP for CCTV recording in all the pathways, full routing, temporary loading and storage locations

h.      Additional requirements for RSP for power back-up for all CCTV and alarm systems 

i.         Additional requirements for RSP – camera fully secured using a cloud system

   j.   RSP needs to have a plan for routing of the internal transport system. Motion detectors in the security system and door alarms linking to control tower or guarding systems

    k. Trash Management: This is a key area for the recycling industry as security compromises can easily happen in the trash management area.  Some of the important elements for consideration include:

·         Multiple cameras positioned in trash location 

·         Determine how trash should be handled, packaged and labeled and transported

·         Incorporate strategies to limit the spread of contamination

·         Consider separating trash by types, contaminant, treatment technology, receiving facility, etc

·         Establish trash minimization strategies

·         CCTV and lighting visibility in trash location, including clarity test during storm conditions and rainy seasons

·         Trash must be placed in containers which are visible

·         Random trash inspection 100%

·         Use of transparent trash bags

·         Escorts required during the process of moving and transportation of scraps and trash


Reference Table 1 above on the Fuji Xerox case study:

1.      Environment management system is available and functioning.

2.      Enough occupational health and safety (OHS) measures are taken.

3.      There is a proper monitoring, recording and reporting program for environment and safety.

4.      There is a proper education program for employees.

5.      There is a proper emergency response measurement plan.




1.                  In managing fire, flood, terrorism.

2.                  In managing a whistleblower system.

3.                  Risk in supply chain management investigation.

4.                  Self-assessment of risk management.

5.                  Business Continuity Management on policy of business interruption.


The business case for developing a Recycling Security Requirement for Technology Products supports companies’ supply chain sustainability and resilience. The global e-waste recycling and reuse markets are highly fragmented, including a wide range of participants and suppliers across the value chain such as de-manufacturers, collectors, material processors, recyclers and re-furbishers, among others. Global manufacturers and Recycling Service Providers (RSP) are now faced with increased government legislation and proposed laws that aim to guarantee that new products are designed and manufactured with fewer toxic materials. Recycling Service Providers need to work closely with governments and their customers (buyers) to ensure e-waste is properly recycled and disposed of. The handling of e-waste will include the following:


a.   Permitted treatment

b.   Proper storage

c.   Disposal facilities

d.  Proper ways of achieving high yields from recycled minerals such as aluminium, cobalt, and other rare earth minerals


In view of the importance of the recycling industry and the impact on the earth's environment, TAPA APAC will be looking at the possibility of having a Security Standard for the Recycling Security Requirement for Technology. This standard will differentiate from other industries such as food recycling, wood recycling or plastic recycling. Hence the term "technology" will cover a lot of the service providers in this area which is reflective of TAPA members' profiles.

Members who are interested in participating in the interest group should contact TAPA APAC at secretariat@tapa-apac.org