Article from the Malaysian Reserve: Reduce e-waste by giving your smartphone a 2nd life

Original post from: Give your mobile phone a 2nd life to reduce e-waste (

ACCORDING to a report in October 2021, Malaysia’s soil is enviromentally suffering due to the large amount of electrical waste (e-waste) being dumped at its 141 landfills nationwide. 

As the government launched various initiatives to address this, one person decided to take matters into his own hands and believed that his ideas could drastically reduce e-waste in the country. 

Second Life Asia Sdn Bhd (SLA) CEO and Guard Genius Sdn Bhd co-founder Jerome Teh, with 28 years’ experience in business and telecommunications, is confident that both companies could contribute towards the aim of Sustainable Development Goal 12 (SDG12). 

The Journey Begins 

In 2018, while discussing a news report that Apple Inc would eventually lose their right to repair their devices, which led Apple to open up the market for repair, Teh and SLA co-founder Alan Lee had the idea to form their own start-up company. 

“However, quality was our biggest concern,” Teh told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR), explaining Apple’s effort to make sure that the third-party repair services adhere to the standards that they have set. 

To achieve that, all technicians must attend 500 long hours of training by Apple, which covers both theory and practical tests for all types of its devices. 

At the same time, the trainees also need to observe the three pillars of environmental, social and governance (ESG). 

Due to the untapped market in repairing services that are Apple-certified in Malaysia, Teh pursued that road. From then on, SLA was founded, specialising in repairing Apple products. 

However, the start of their journey was a bumpy one as Covid-19 hit and caused them to restructure their marketing strategy by going online, which Teh said was a blessing in disguise which propelled them to gain more revenue and the timing was perfect because Apple had awarded them the licence. 

SLA has since skyrocketed and currently has 27 outlets nationwide, one of which is located in Sibu.

“We are looking into going to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu soon,” he commented on their plans to have their service available in other locations. 

Efforts To Stop E-waste 

Heavily invested in taking care of the environment, Teh explained that the damaged parts that have been replaced with the new ones would later be sent back to Apple to be recycled into brand new parts, which is beneficial for the sustainability of the environment. 

He also commented on Malaysia’s lack of awareness on how to manage e-waste properly. 

Many people think that it is okay to just throw them away with the rest of their garbage in the same bins and expect the environmental management agencies to collect the e-waste and dispose of it properly. 

However, these will only be dumped in the landfills and when exposed to constant heat, the lithium batteries will either explode or leak out, and the soil will absorb the liquid. 

The damaged soil will not be revivable for other uses, even if all the landfills are cleared. 

Teh advised people to instead hand their e-waste over to any of SLA’s closest locations and let them handle the disposal properly. 

He is also partnering with an e-waste disposal company called Electronic Recycling Through Heroes (ERTH), to whom SLA delivers the e-waste that they received from the public.

For this, SLA pays ERTH for their services but Teh noted that the payment is not expensive as his actions would benefit the environment for future generations. 

Using the same device for a long period is also beneficial for the sustainability of the environment. 

“Our objective is to save our planet, one device at a time,” Teh said, urging Malaysians to not change their phones unless truly necessary. 

One cannot deny that the cost to repair an Apple device would be expensive, and most people would think that it is better to just switch over to a new one, which is why Teh co-founded Guard Genius to counter that flaw. 

Guard Genius provides device protection services in the form of an annual subscription. Subscribers’ phones are insured and any kind of damage that is included in the service will be repaired. 

The Smart Guard plan provides protection against accidental screen crack from RM269 a year while the Smart Guard Plus ensures protection against accidental screen crack and liquid damage from RM499 for two years.

Teh said the arrival of the latest Apple’s iPhone 15 will certainly attract many Apple fans, hence he hoped Malaysians are aware of the negative impacts of e-waste and the carbon emissions if they decide to switch their devices. 

Repairing a device saves around 80kg of carbon emissions. As of last month, SLA repaired around 6,000 phones which translates to almost half a million kg of carbon emissions saved. 

Teh admitted that old phone models are missing new features and if this is the case, he advised consumers to pass the old devices down to their children or younger siblings, rather than letting them rot away. 

Through Humble Beginnings 

Starting his career at Arthur Andersen’s business consulting division, Teh managed to lay a robust foundation in business and financial management. 

He then honed his expertise as a telecom strategy consultant with Analysis Ltd in the UK, boasting considerable achievements such as spearheading due diligence on Starhub on behalf of a consortium of investment banks in 1999 and devising market entry strategies for 3G operators in Europe and Asia. 

He also did stints in web and venture capital sectors at companies like Web Connection Private Ltd and Hewlett Packard Asia Pacific before returning to CelcomDigi Bhd in 2003 where he climbed the ranks swiftly and led the 3G services’ Go-To-Market strategy as head of marketing 3G. 

One of his unforgettable achievements was sitting in the VP seat at Packet One Sdn Bhd, where he built a marketing team and orchestrated the launch of several projects, including the groundbreaking wireless@KL. 

After pursuing more knowledge in business as well as the world of technology in various other companies including Indonesia, he noticed something was off when he was in the telecommunication industry — people are frequently changing mobile phones with the use of payment plans or trade-ins. 

Phone Care Tips 

Avoid using your phone while charging. By doing this, the phone will overheat and cause damage to the battery cells. 

Using original Apple products makes a lot of difference as imitation parts can damage the phone over time as they are not compatible with the device. The incompatibility will eventually damage your phone battery. 

To determine whether a cable or adapter is original, first, go into “Settings”, and click on the “General” section while being plugged into the cable. If it is not original, a notification will pop up that shows non-original parts have been detected.