Masangkay, Joselyn: Electronic Wastes Disposal

SY 2008-2009, First Semester


I. Introduction

It is the policy of the State to adopt a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program which shall ensure the protection of public health and environment; utilize environmentally-sound methods that maximize the utilization of valuable resources and encourage resources conservation and recovery; set guidelines and targets for solid waste avoidance and volume reduction through source reduction and waste minimization measures, including composing, recycling, re-use, recovery, green charcoal process, and others, before collection, treatment and disposal in appropriate and environmentally-sound solid waste management facilities in accordance with ecologically sustainable development principles; and ensure the proper segregation, collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of solid waste through the formulation and adoption of the best environmental practices in ecological waste management excluding incineration.

The State also aims to encourage greater private sector participation in solid waste management; retain primary enforcement and responsibility of solid waste management with local government units while establishing a cooperative effort among the national government, other local government units, non-government organizations, and the private sector; encourage cooperation and self-regulation among waste generators through the application of market-based instruments; institutionalize public participation in the development and implementation of national and local integrated, comprehensive and ecological waste management programs; and strengthen the integration of ecological solid waste management and resource conservation and recovery topics into the academic curricula of formal and non-formal education in order to promote environmental awareness and action among the citizenry.

a. Background

The consumers’ preference for technologically advanced electronics and electrical gadgets led to the Municipal Solid Waste generation of complex characteristic ranging from the metals and chemical substances that make up such items. Thus, electronics and electrical goods underscored the increasing volume of components and parts from the material acquisition, production and e-waste resulting from the product’s end-of-life.

The country has adequate laws to regulate waste related problems such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001 (RA 9003) and Toxic and Hazardous Waste Act (RA 6969), but further implementation mechanisms and strategies are needed to address every sector demands to ecologically manage their waste and resources, particularly the Electronics Manufacturers/Producers. One of the aims of these laws are to maximize the potential resources of the waste to sustainably utilize our natural resources such as sand, petroleum and tree which produce glass, plastic and paper, respectively.

b. Rationale of the Study

In view of the varying characteristics of wastes found in the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) stream, with reference particularly to Electronics and Electrical wastes or e-wastes, it is recognized that the producers/manufacturers of electronic and electrical goods shall share a responsibility in eliminating barriers to attain waste reduction with the introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). EPR is being envisioned to introduce the shared responsibility among producers/manufacturers, consumers and cooperation in the government to manage discarded products of these products. Apart from the end-of-life pollution control, EPR exemplifies an effective product life cycle which upon altered design and composition attain product durability, reusability and recyclability which promotes waste prevention/avoidance and waste minimization and a treatment/disposal management less likely to cause severe environmental impacts. Lessened environmental concern equals direct incentives to the producers/manufacturers.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources also recognizes the need to further address the imminent environmental liability of the Electronics and Electrical Producers/Manufacturers towards environmental protection and enhancement in pursuant to Section 28 Article 4 of RA 9003-Recycling Programs and Buy-back Centers for Recyclables of the Recycling Program and Section 57, Chapter VII of RA 9003-Business and Industry Role which provides that :

Reclamation Programs and Buy-back Centers for Recyclables and Toxics. – The National Ecology Center shall assist LGUs in establishing and implementing deposit or reclamation programs in coordination with manufacturers, recyclers and generators to provide separate collection systems or convenient drop-off locations for recyclable materials and particularly for separated toxic components of the waste stream like dry cell batteries and tires to ensure that they are not incinerated or disposed of in landfill. Upon effectively of this Act, toxic materials present in the waste stream should be separated at source, collected separately, and further screened and sent to appropriate hazardous waste compartments.

Business and Industry Role. – The Commission shall encourage commercial and industrial establishments, through appropriate incentives other than tax incentives, to initiate, participate and invest in integrated ecological solid waste management projects, to manufacture environment-friendly products, to introduce, develop and adopt innovative processes that shall recycle and re-use materials, conserve raw materials and energy, reduce waste, and prevent pollution, and to undertake community activities to promote and propagate effective solid waste management practices.

Further, the institution of EPR, consistent with the provisions of RA 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001) and RA 6969 (Toxic and Hazardous Waste Act of 1990), are aimed at increasing the responsibility of the producers as part of a broader effort to eliminate waste by consumers, government and business. Some of the prohibited acts in relation to Electronics and Electrical Producers/Manufacturers provided by RA 9003 are the following:

(1) The manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials;

(2) Importation of consumer products packaged in non-environmentally acceptable materials;

(3) Importation of toxic wastes misrepresented as “recyclable” or “with recyclable content”;

(4) Transport and dumping in bulk of collected domestic, industrial, commercial and institutional wastes in areas other than centers of facilities prescribed under this Act;

II. Definitions of Terms

For the purpose of this paper, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings based on RA 9003:

“Bulky wastes” shall refer to waste materials which cannot be appropriately placed in separate containers because of either its bulky size, shape or other physical attributes. These include large worn-out or broken household, commercial, and industrial items such as furniture, lamps, bookcases, filing cabinets, and other similar items.

“Buy-back center” shall refer to a recycling center that purchases or otherwise accepts recyclable materials from the public for the purpose of recycling such materials.

“Collection” shall refer to the act of removing solid waste from the source or from a communal storage point.

“Composting” shall refer to the controlled decomposition of organic matter by micro-organisms, mainly bacteria and fungi, into a humus-like product.

“Consumer electronics” shall refer to special wastes that include worn-out, broken, and other discarded items such as radios, stereos, and TV sets.

“Controlled dump” shall refer to a disposal site at which solid waste is deposited in accordance with the minimum prescribed standards of site operation.

“Disposal” shall refer to the discharge, deposit, dumping, spilling, leaking or placing of any solid waste into or in any land.

“Disposal site” shall refer to a site where solid waste is finally discharged and deposited.

“Ecological solid waste management” shall refer to the systematic administration of activities which provide for segregation at source, segregated transportation, storage, transfer, processing, treatment, and disposal of solid waste and all other waste management activities which do not harm the environment.

“Environmentally acceptable” shall refer to the quality of being re-usable, biodegradable or compostable, recyclable and not toxic or hazardous to the environment.

“Environmentally preferable” shall refer to products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance or disposal of the product or service.

“Generation” shall refer to the act or process of producing solid waste.

“Generator” shall refer to a person, natural or juridical, who last uses a material and makes it available for disposal or recycling.

“Hazardous waste” shall refer to solid waste or combination of solid waste which because of its quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics may: cause, or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness; or pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, or disposed of, or otherwise managed.

“Leachate” shall refer to the liquid produced when waste undergo decomposition, and when water percolate through solid waste undergoing decomposition. It is a contaminated liquid that contains dissolved and suspended materials.

“Materials recovery facility” shall include solid waste transfer station or sorting station, drop-off center, a composting facility, and a recycling facility.

“Municipal wastes” shall refer to wastes produced from activities within local government units which include a combination of domestic, commercial, institutional and industrial wastes and street litters.

“Non-environmentally acceptable products or packaging” shall refer to products or packaging that are unsafe in production, use, post-consumer use, or that produce or release harmful products.

“Open burning” shall refer to the thermal destruction of wastes by means of direct exposure to fire. Furthermore, this definition shall apply to traditional small-scale methods of community sanitation “siga”.

“Person(s)” shall refer to any being, natural or juridical, susceptible of rights and obligations, or of being the subject of legal relations.

“Post-consumer material” shall refer only to those materials or products generated by a business or consumer which have served their intended end use, and which have been separated or diverted from solid waste for the purpose of being collected, processed and used as a raw material in the manufacturing of recycled product, excluding materials and by-products generated from, and commonly used within an original manufacturing process, such as mill scrap.

“Receptacles” shall refer to individual containers used for the source separation and the collection of recyclable materials.

“Recovered material” shall refer to material and by-products that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste for the purpose of being collected, processed and used as a raw material in the manufacture of a recycled product.

“Recyclable material” shall refer to any waste material retrieved from the waste stream and free from contamination that can still be converted into suitable beneficial use or for other purposes, including, but not limited to, newspaper, ferrous scrap metal, non-ferrous scrap metal, used oil, corrugated cardboard, aluminum, glass, office paper, tin cans, plastics and other materials as may be determined by the Commission.

“Recycled material” shall refer to post-consumer material that has been recycled and returned to the economy.

“Recycling” shall refer to the treating of used or waste materials through a process of making them suitable for beneficial use and for other purposes, and includes any process by which solid waste materials are transformed into new products in such a manner that the original products may lose their identity, and which may be used as raw materials for the production of other goods or services: Provided, that the collection, segregation and re-use of previously used packaging material shall be deemed recycling under the Act.

“Resource conservation” shall refer to the reduction of the amount of solid waste that are generated or the reduction of overall resource consumption, and utilization of recovered resources.

“Resource recovery” shall refer to the collection, extraction or recovery of recyclable materials from the waste stream for the purpose of recycling, generating energy or producing a product suitable for beneficial use: Provided, That, such resource recovery facilities exclude incineration.

“Re-use” shall refer to the process of recovering materials intended for the same or different purpose without the alteration of physical and chemical characteristics.

“Sanitary landfill” shall refer to a waste disposal site designed, constructed, operated and maintained in a manner that exerts engineering control over significant potential environmental impacts arising from the development and operation of the facility.

“Segregation” shall refer to sorting and segregation of different materials found in solid waste in order to promote recycling and re-use of resources and to reduce the volume of waste for collection and disposal.

“Segregation at source” shall refer to a solid waste management practice of separating, at the point of origin, different materials found in solid waste in order to promote recycling and re-use of resources and to reduce the volume of waste for collection and disposal.

“Solid waste” shall refer to all discarded household, commercial waste, non-hazardous institutional, ports / harbor and industrial waste, street sweepings, construction debris, agriculture waste, and other non-hazardous/non-toxic solid waste. Unless specifically noted otherwise, the term “solid waste” as used in the Act shall not include:

a. Waste identified or listed as hazardous waste of a solid, liquid, contained gaseous or semi-solid form which may cause or contribute to an increase in mortality or in serious or incapacitating reversible illness, or acute/chronic effect on the health of persons and other organisms;

b. Infectious waste from hospitals such as equipment, instruments, utensils, and fomites of a disposable nature from patients who are suspected to have or have been diagnosed as having communicable diseases and must therefore be isolated as required by public health agencies, laboratory wastes such as pathological specimens (i.e., all tissues, specimens of blood elements, excreta, and secretions obtained from patients or laboratory animals), and disposable fomites that may harbor or transmit pathogenic organisms, and surgical operating room pathologic specimens and disposable fomites attendant thereto, and similar disposable materials from outpatient areas and emergency rooms; and

c. Waste resulting from mining activities, including contaminated soil and debris.

“Solid waste management” shall refer to the discipline associated with the control of generation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing, and disposal of solid wastes in a manner that is in accord with the best principles of public health, economics, engineering, conservation, aesthetics, and other environmental considerations, and that is also responsive to public attitudes.

“Source reduction” shall refer to the reduction of solid waste before it enters the solid waste stream by methods such as product design, materials substitution, materials re-use and packaging restrictions.

“Source separation” shall refer to the sorting of solid waste into some or all of its component parts at the point of generation.

“Special wastes” shall refer to household hazardous wastes such as paints, thinners, household batteries, lead-acid batteries, spray canisters and the like. These include wastes from residential and commercial sources that comprise of bulky wastes, consumer electronics, white goods, yard wastes that are collected separately, batteries, oil, and tires. These wastes are usually handled separately from other residential and commercial wastes.

“Storage” shall refer to the interim containment of solid waste after generation and prior to collection for ultimate recovery or disposal.

“White goods” shall refer to large worn-out or broken household, commercial, and industrial appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, dishwaters, and clothes washers and dryers collected separately. White goods are usually dismantled for the recovery of specific materials (e.g., copper, aluminum, etc.). RA 9003 and RA 6969 characterized the category of goods found to contain toxic elements, as special waste and toxic and hazardous substances respectively, should maintain a more responsible program that will eliminate potential risk and negative impact to the environment, health and safety.

III. Relevant National Laws

The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 (RA 9003) and the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990 (RA 6969) are the pertinent statutes that regulate electronic waste in the country.

The key provisions of RA 9003 are the following:

  1. Mandatory Solid Waste Diversion (IRR – Part 3, Rule 7, Sec. 7) – All LGUs are required to divert waste by 25% within 5 years
  2. Mandatory Segregation at Source (Chap. 2, Art.1, Sec 21) – Segregation shall primarily be conducted at source.
  3. Requirements for Storage of Solid Waste (Chap.3, Art.2, Sec. 22) – There shall be separate containers for each type of waste.
  4. Segregated Collection &Transport (Chap.3, Art.3, Sec.24) – The use of separate collection schedules and/or separate trucks or haulers is required for specific types of wastes.
  5. Prohibition on the Use of Non-Environmentally Acceptable Packaging (Chap.3, Art.4, Sec.30)- Vendors are prohibited from selling products that are placed, wrapped or packaged in not environmentally acceptable packaging.
  6. Disposal of Wastes (Chap.6, Sec.48) – The following are prohibited: open burning, open dumping, construction of landfills or waste facility on aquifer groundwater reserve area or watershed
  7. Citizen Suit (Chap.7, Sec.52)- Any citizen may file civil, criminal or administrative action against public officers or offices that fail to comply with the provisions of the Act.

On the other hand, RA 6969 provides that:

  1. The regulation of all chemical substances that may pose threat to public health and the environment whether through import, manufacture, sale, use, distribution, and disposal (Title II, Sec. 14-23)
  2. The regulation of all hazardous wastes from generation, transport, storage, re-use/recycling, treatment and disposal (Title III, Sec. 24-31)
  3. The generator has the responsibility until the waste has been disposed of properly in an environmentally sound way or liable in case of spill or illegal disposal.

IV. Scope and Limitation of the Research

The paper covers the disposal of E-wastes which specifically defined as any equipment that utilizes electricity to function and has achieved its primary purpose and needs to be disposed of. In addition, the following are included in the study:

  • Components that are parts of the equipment
  • Sub-assemblies that form part of the equipment
  • Consumables of the equipment

The pertinent key provisions of national laws regarding the disposal of electronic wastes are also stated in the paper. This paper is a compilation and arrangement of existing studies and laws and practices and methodologies of recycling industry only. The author did not conduct any further study regarding the subject matter. This paper is can serve as reference to further improve the disposal of E-wastes which aims the continual improvement of the Act’s (RA 9003) governing policy on waste diversion, volume reduction and recycling, treatment, management and handling of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in general.

V. Key Findings of Study

a. Effects of Improper Disposal of E-waste; Problems Encountered

The inevitable modernization and development in our country result to the unstoppable increase of volume of waste generated including the large volume of E-wastes generated. It is estimated that 17%-27% of wastes are dumped illegally on private lands, rivers, creeks or openly burned, violating both the Clean Air Act and RA 9003. Most, if not all, dump sites are dangerous, exposed and generate potentially toxic liquids called “leachate”, which can cause groundwater contamination. Also, Industrial and commercial waste, including hazardous waste pose additional health problems. Several residents live on, around or near dump sites; and lack sufficient site security and control which allows unrestricted access onto waste piles. Some dump sites are critically unstable, presenting the possibility of another deadly garbage slide, like that of Payatas and some lack adequate drainage that are prone to flooding. Potentially dangerous landfill fires have been observed at several dump sites. Thirty to forty percent (30-40%) of LGU budget goes to SWM. It was claimed that in the year 2002, Quezon City spend P 500 milllion for its dumpsite operation; while the whole Metro Manila expend P 600 billion for the year 2001. Notwithstanding the disasters similar to the Payatas case and other possible diseases due to exposure to garbage can cause serious health and economic problems. Aside from this, building of sanitary landfills can cause resistance from nearby residents and environment-concerned organizations

On the other hand, proper disposal of E-wastes can lead to the following benefits:

  • To the Community Member
    • Income and savings opportunities by way of either cash or reward coupon per kilogram of waste collected.
  • To the Municipality/City
    • Job opportunities for waste recycling processing
    • Diversified income generation from sale of processed waste to Recycle vision through a “buy-back” agreement, providing a self-sustainable waste management enforcement programs
    • Increased community and LGU environmental awareness and integration ultimately leading to waste reduction.
  • To the Barangays
    • Job opportunities for pre-processing of waste
    • Income generation from sale of pre-processed waste to City/Municipality for further processing or other interested groups
  • To the Nation
    • Overall reduction of pollution
    • Reduced need to maintain dump sites or landfill facilities in turn reducing the risks and hazards posed by dump sites and unclean environment

b. Identified Best Practices

b.1. HMR Environcycle Phils., Inc.

The HMR Envirocycle Phils.,Inc. in Pasig City is pioneer in the management of E-waste. The company stated the following facts about E-waste:

  • 6.5% sales growth rate in the Philippines with about 265,000 to 1.37 million PCs in 2002
  • The life span of a computer has been reduced from 4-5 years to 2 years or less
  • According to NSC, more than 63 million PCs are projected to retire in 2005
  • 1 acre, 4,000 ft. deep landfill needed for 55 million discarded PCs

The company also said that a Personal Computer (PC) contains the following elements as shown in the figure below.e company also said that a Personal Computer (PC) contains the elements and its respective percentage as shown in the figure below.

The schematic diagram below shows the process how an electronic product is dismantled and how to maximize the used of electronic parts and materials to reduced the volume of E-wastes.

Fig. 2. Process of Electronic Recycling and Re-use

The company claimed that several benefits can be gained from Electronic Recycling such as: 1. Information technology is made available to persons who may not be able to afford it, and 2. The recycling industry can provide 30 jobs per 1,000 tons.

b.2. Original Equipment Manufacturers and Remanufactured Cartridges

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) are the manufacturers that do the replacement ink or toner for copiers or printers and normally will put the manufacturer’s name on the product, such as Canon, IBM, Sharp, Lexmark, Brother, Epson, etc. While, remanufactured cartridges have been recycled to meet or exceed OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) specifications. The recycling process involves series of process. The difference of refilled ink or toner cartridges is that the process involves only refilling, as shown in the diagram below.

Fig. 3. Process of Remanufacturing Cartridges

With the above innovations, E-wastes volume will be significantly reduced, electronic parts and materials used will be maximized, and the toxic and hazardous components of the electronic products will not adversely affect public health and the environment.

VI. Recommendation

The following recommended implementing schemes of the DENR, outline the spectrum of programs leading to the attainment of the overall objective of the Extended Products Reliability for Electronic Products.

1. Waste Avoidance

Highlighted by the National Solid Waste Management Framework as the topmost scheme in solid waste management, waste avoidance encompasses a wide range of factors that affects the most efficient use of resources to produce better quality products and attain less waste wasteful post-consumer products which causes environmental harm.

2. Take Back System.

The burgeoning rate of post consumer goods made up of electronics and electrical components currently being disposed must be supported with a take-back/recovery and or retrieval system where the discarded items, in whole or in part are collected on drop-off points or bins located in areas that can be accessed by the end-users. At the interim, the LGU must ensure collection and transfer of the said items to an accredited facility. As such, the LGU may impose on fees that will cover the transfer and treatment of the e-waste.

a. The producers/manufacturers of the electronic and electrical goods and its components should integrate and arrange a scheme for take-back either directly or a third party, of its corporal items and shoulder the cost of its treatment such that the said scheme shall be made as a mandatory policy governing production and management at end-of-life.

b. The producer shall provide the public information on the product specification, effects when damage or ways for proper handling and management.

c. Where applicable, the LGU or community-based Material Recovery Facility (MRF) may be designated as a temporary drop-off area of the said items.

d. In the event where the white goods and e-wastes have been brought to junk-dealers, such entity shall take the responsibility of transferring the said items to the designated transfer station and shoulder the cost for treatment and disposal. Provided that such operation shall be covered by a business permit legitimizing the conduct of business of the entity for such purpose. In view thereof, the Department and its Regional Offices should monitor the operation of Junkshops/dealers in the same manner as MRF is being monitored.

3. Polluter Pays Principle.

The imposition of fees shall be made on the basis of the EPR programs instituted by the producers/manufacturers, LGUs and the technology providers or waste treaters.

a. Upstream and Downstream Product Management Cycle.

EPR should be implemented along a two-fold principle, upstream and downstream management cycle. Alongside the waste diversion policy of RA 9003 (recycling and resource recovery) and its corresponding Treatment, Storage, Disposal (TSD) requirement covered by RA 6969 or the downstream management, the producer/manufacturer should assume the upstream management through product development options such as:

  • Material Substitution
  • Better product design
  • Clean production
  • Green Procurement
  • Eco-Labelling

b. Opportunity to Recycle.

The opportunity to recycle should be made available to the community/consumers by making available public education and promotion program and encourage source separation of recycle material through reclamation and buy-back centers for recyclables, toxic and hazardous materials.


References

  • Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) Kit. National Solid Waste Management Commission – Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2002.
  • Republic Act 9003 ( Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001.
  • RA 6969 (Toxic and Hazardous Waste Act of 1990).
  • HMR Envirocycle Phils.,Inc. Presentation, 2007.
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