PETALING JAYA: Only about 3,000 units of the millions of mobile e-waste have been properly disposed of through the recycling campaign run by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) since its inception in late 2013 - a very low participation from the public.
One of the key reasons is that Malaysian expect to be paid for the waste they send for recycling.
Asked if Malaysians were literate on e-waste recycling, MCMC head of technology development Badaruzzaman Mat Nor said it was hard to gauge the level of awareness among Malaysians.
"Based on our findings thus far, there were a few parties that were looking forward to taking part while there were also parties who wanted incentives in return.
"This shows we are not on par with developed countries when it comes to 'going green' awareness and recycling matters," Badaruzzaman said.
EcoKnights president and founder Yasmin Rasyid, however, said incentives were "expected" as the e-waste contained precious metals inside.
"It takes a lot more to extract it out and we won't be the ones doing it. I think e-waste recycling, if done properly and efficiently, is a lucrative business to be in because you will never run out of it," she said.
Recycling mobile e-waste involves dismantling the devices into several components, where unusable materials will be disposed of properly while the reusable ones are extracted to manufacture new products, a process known as urban mining.
Yasmin said the recycling business would be more lucrative as more people bought into consumerism.
"I'm not surprised if there's already an e-waste syndicate here sending our e-waste to other countries for recycling.
"But let's be honest, Malaysians are Malaysians, if we see value, we expect to be rewarded. That's both good and bad, depending on which side you're on," he said.