Safe ways to discard electronics

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By Alexander Villafania

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA  — Overall, people in metro cities are producing nearly half a kilo of waste every day. If you count all of the estimated waste produced, that’s 19,000 tons of waste everyday or 7.2 million tons per year according to a report from the Solid Waste Management Association of the Philippines.

Compounding to that problem is the growing environmental effects of electronic waste (e-waste). The problem is common in many countries, especially developing nations such as the Philippines. It is also growing fast as demand for electronic devices surge.

In 2005, a study by University of the Philippines Professor (now chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering) Genandrialine Peralta showed the looming problem of e-waste in the Philippines. Later, a UP Pampanga student, Sharon Manalac, wrote a paper which added a few more data to Peralta’s paper. This time, she estimated the tonnage of e-waste produced in the Philippines until 2018. More details were added by environmental group Greenpeace about the effects of e-waste.

These issues on e-waste have caught the attention of some private companies, particularly malls. For example, SM Malls have launched an e-waste collection program last year. They put bins in all of their malls and encouraged people to throw in their discarded devices, particularly mobile phones. They have partnered with mobile phone company Nokia. Ayala Malls also has its Recyclables Fair.

Similar activities will also be held simultaneously during the Earth Day Celebrations this April across Metro Manila and select cities nationwide. Some of these activities include disposal of discarded electronic devices, gadgets and appliances.

Mobile telecommunications giant Smart Communications has some “smart” tips on how to properly dispose e-waste:

  1. Take it to a professional waste disposal facility – There are some companies that provide e-waste disposal services. Some of these include Integrated Recycling Industries and Envirocycle, which is an affiliate company of refurbished items firm HMR .
  2. Return the product to the manufacturer – Companies like Nokia, Canon, and HP has buy-back programs for their equipment. In some limited fashion, they also collect discarded parts of their products from consumers.
  3. Donate it to a charity or non-profit organization –There are many non-profit groups that accept devices as donations for their projects. One of these is the Gearing Up Internet Literacy and Access of Students (GILAS). Though they mostly procure brand new computers, those that still work are accepted, thus extending their usability and taking them off landfills.

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Jenny says:

Sharon Manalac is not a UP Pampanga student, she is a UP Pampanga Professor who is a graduate of UP Diliman.