E-Waste in the Philippines

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J Mater Cycles Waste Manag (2006) 8:34–39 DOI 10.1007/s10163-005-0142-5

© Springer-Verlag 2006

SPECIAL FEATURE: ORIGINAL ARTICLE

E-waste

Genandrialine L. Peralta · Psyche M. Fontanos

E-waste issues and measures in the Philippines

Received: May 17, 2005 / Accepted: September 25, 2005

Abstract The continuous dependence on electronic equipment at home and in the workplace has given rise to a new environmental challenge: electronic waste. Electronic waste, or e-waste, refers to electronic products that no longer satisfy the needs of the initial purchaser. These can include a wide variety of goods, such as computers, cellular phones, TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, and video cameras. These pieces of equipment contain hazardous materials such as lead, beryllium, mercury, cadmium, and chromium that pose both an occupational and environmental health threat. Although electronic equipment is considered safe during use, the potential for release of the toxic constituents increases during storage or disposal. Because of the growing number of discarded electronic devices resulting from rapid product obsolescence, this type of waste is an emerging concern among developing countries. This study estimates the current and future quantity of e-waste in the Philippines, with a focus on televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, and radios. Data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) serve as the input to a simple end-of-life model for each type of electronic device. Mathematical equations are derived incorporating other factors, such as the number of electronic devices in use, current end-of-life management practices, serviceable years of the product, and disposal behavior of consumers. An accurate estimation of e-waste generation would be useful in policy making as well as in designing an effective management scheme to avoid the potential threats of health impacts or environmental pollution. Preliminary estimates show that at the end of 2005, approximately 2.7 million units became obsolete and about 1.8 million units required landfilling. Over a 10-year period from 1995 to 2005, approximately 25 million units

became obsolete. An additional 14 million units are projected to become obsolete in the next 5 years. Key words Electronic waste · E-waste estimation · Philippines

Introduction
Electronic products are present in almost every aspect of our lives. The heavy reliance on these devices, however, has resulted in the growing number of electronic items found in the waste stream. As an initial step toward proper management of this waste, it is necessary to estimate the expected flow of waste that will need proper management. Some studies have been made to estimate e-waste generation in other countries; however, estimation methods differ from one study to another. One method developed at Carnegie Mellon University by Matthews et al. is based on sales data, which were used to estimate the current and future quantity of computers that will be reused, recycled, stored, and landfilled in the United States.1 Another study prepared by the Cascadia Consulting Group used survey data from the US Census Bureau to estimate the amount of e-waste generated by residents of northwest Washington.2 At present, the Philippines has no official data available regarding the current quantity of electronic waste being generated locally. This study is intended to fill that data gap.

Overview of e-waste According to the Basel Action Network, “e-waste encompasses a broad and growing range of electronic devices, ranging from large household devices such as refrigerators, air conditioners, cell phones, personal stereos, and consumer electronics to computers, which have been discarded by their users.”3 In recent years, the e-waste problem has gained increasing attention because of the high rate at which it is gener-

G.L. Peralta (*) · P.M. Fontanos Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental...
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