Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Opening of the KGS Battery Plant on 24 October 2023
KGS Founders and management – Mr Max T, Mr Jasper Tan, Mr Andrew Tay, and Mr Kenny Lim,
Colleagues from the government agencies,
Partners of KGS,
1 Let me first start by saying that as I look at the management team of KGS, I feel very heartened. The image of recycling has changed from the karung guni men, who still play a very important role in our circular economy, we now have younger-looking faces. There is a future for this industry.
2 Congratulations to the KGS team! I am happy to participate in the official opening of the KGS battery recycling facility. This is another milestone in our journey towards achieving a circular economy and sustainably managing e-waste, including end-of-life Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries and lithium-ion batteries from ICT equipment.
3 We all know that the volume of used EV batteries is set to increase. Not so much now with the current crop of EV vehicles only reaching end-of-life in 7-10 years, but we expect the volume of batteries to increase as we move closer towards 2030 and the phasing out of internal combustion engine vehicles in Singapore under the Singapore Green Plan 2030. EV adoption has significantly increased and will be set to do so. The volume of lithium-ion batteries from end-of-life ICT equipment has been increasing and will also continue to increase with greater digitalisation and use of ICT equipment such as mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.
4 Singapore generates 60,000 tonnes of e-waste a year and only 6% is recycled. We are trying to improve this recycling rate through the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for e-waste. The scheme was implemented since July 2021 and ensures that lithium-ion batteries are collected and properly treated at licensed e-waste recycling facilities in Singapore like KGS. These batteries contain metals such as lithium, cobalt, copper, aluminium, and nickel which can be recovered and further refined to produce new batteries. It is important to properly treat batteries because of the hazardous elements inside which could negatively impact the environment.
5 The new battery recycling plant represents KGS’s commitment to environmentally sound business practices. The recycling of batteries supports Singapore’s goals to build a circular economy, and to reduce the amount of waste sent to our only landfill, Semakau Landfill. This supports our 2030 goal of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill by 30%.
6 KGS battery recycling plant is the 3rd battery recycling plant in Singapore. The commissioning of KGS’ new battery recycling facility today will add an annual recycling capacity of 2,600 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries to our overall local recycling capability to manage end-of-life EV batteries. Together with other EV battery recycling facilities in Singapore that have a combined recycling capacity of 8,600 tonnes, KGS’ new facility increases Singapore’s total recycling capacity of lithium-ion batteries to more than 11,000 tonnes annually. This is important as it adds to our local e-waste recycling capability and adds to our capacity to treat batteries.
7 KGS’ battery recycling plant is Singapore’s first vertical battery recycling facility, allowing it to achieve valuable space savings, which is a key consideration in land scarce Singapore. Moreover, I understand that the facility is able to separate the ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as copper and aluminium from the batteries. This not only builds capabilities to treat batteries locally and improve the resilience of the e-waste recycling industry in Singapore, but also creates opportunities for research, collaboration, and innovation in managing end-of-life EV batteries. Such solutions will be highly sought-after internationally as most of the world moves towards electrifying their fleets. Hence, my congratulations to the KGS team and I am looking forward to learning more about your facility and operations during the tour later.
8 Thank you everyone for your support. I believe the close partnership with e-waste recyclers such as KGS will result in positive impact to both the environment and our economy, as well as strengthen our local recycling capabilities to properly manage our e-waste.