Techie? Your 'e-waste' can turn into poor kids' e-learning treasure

Techie? Your 'e-waste' can turn into poor kids' e-learning treasure

Kathleen A. Llemit (Philstar.com) - January 20, 2021 - 8:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — Have you just finished your new year decluttering? For sure, you have plenty of stuff to dispose, like your usual jars, bottles, papers and plastics.

But here's your dilemma: you've accumulated batteries, old chargers, broken earphones or headphones, mouse, printer, keyboard and mobile phones. Where do you dispose them?

These are generally classified as electronic wastes (e-wastes) and, be honest, have you heard of concerted efforts to have these segregated and collected for proper disposal?

In the article "What can we do about the growing e-waste problem?" dated August 27, 2018 and published in Columbia University blog site, these electronic devices reportedly have "toxic heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium, polluting PVC plastic and hazardous chemicals such as brominated flame retardants, which can harm human health and the environment."

While there are e-waste management solutions through recycling and/or disposal facilities, some go to landfills. Many landfills, unfortunately, see individuals scavenging for whatever they can sell in junkshops. With e-wastes mixed in the pile, they are exposed to these toxic metals. 

In the same blog post, it was reported that inhaling of toxic chemicals and direct contact with hazardous e-waste materials "result in increases in spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, premature births, reduced birth weights, mutations, congenital malformations, abnormal thyroid function, increased lead levels in blood, decreased lung function and neurobehavioral disturbances." These also contaminate the air, soil and groundwater.

According to a recent study made by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and EcoWaste Coalition, only 28 out of the 135 registered Treatment, Storage and Disposal (TSD) facilities in the Philippines process e-waste.

Globally, it is estimated that more than 50 million metric tons of e-waste is produced per year and its continued importation and the increased local generation in the Philippines has become a cause for concern. Roughly 80% of these e-waste end up in landfills.

As a solution, local telecommunications giant Globe recently announced the set up of over 100 collection points nationwide for e-wastes. 

You may go to any participating Globe stores nationwide such as SM North Edsa, Trinoma, UP Town Katipunan, Gateway Mall, SM East Ortigas, Ayala 30th, SM Southmall, Glorietta, Greenbelt 4, Ayala Manila Bay, SM Mall of Asia, SM Sucat, Robinsons Place Manila, SM San Lazaro, Market Market and SM Aura. The complete list of drop off points may be viewed here. For organizations interested in supporting the advocacy or for one-time hauling of bulky e-waste, a request for free door-to-door pickup can be made by emailing bridgecom@globe.com.ph.

Accepted e-waste are computer sets (LCDs, monitors, CPUs, keyboards), IT accessories (mouse, earphones, speakers, etc), printers, fax machines, old TV monitors, mobile phones,
home appliances (washing machine, iron, oven, refrigerator, etc.), cable wires (except fiber optic), car electronics, circuit boards, compact disks (CDs), digital versatile disks (DVDs) and batteries (except for Lead-acid car batteries).

Collected e-waste are delivered by the company to its partner TSD facilities like Total Environment Solutions, Asset Material Management Philippines (TES-AMM) and Maritrans Recycler, Inc.

E-waste is segregated to recover plastic materials, electronic components and precious metals, with the final recycling process being done in TES-AMM’s facility in Singapore. Proceeds from e-waste processing will be used to provide for the communication needs of public school teachers and students in collaboration with the Department of Education.

“We are always looking for ways to promote the benefits of responsible e-waste recycling. We plan to expand the collection points to more Globe Stores and partner organizations and establishments in the coming months to make it easier for the public to participate in this advocacy,” said Yoly Crisanto, Globe Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications. 

The company, through its E-waste Zero program, advocates to extend the life of existing electronic gadgets and responsibly recycle those that are end of life. Formerly known as Project 1 Phone, it was launched in 2014 to provide a platform for businesses, organizations and the general public to donate their old, out-of-use electronic and electrical devices. In 2019 alone, the program collected over 343,000 kg of e-waste, bringing the total collection to more than 1.2 million kg. The has also worked with more than 52 corporations and organizations nationwide.

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