E-Waste in the Philippines Essay

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.

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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 Of? ce (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 land? lling.

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 ? ow 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 land? lled 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 of? ial data available regarding the current quantity of electronic waste being generated locally. This study is intended to ? ll 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 Engineering Graduate Program, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines Tel. +632-927-1745; Fax +632-426-9860 e-mail: [email protected] edu. ph 35 ated and the hazardous substances that e-waste contains. Rapid changes in technology creates new product models, which accelerate obsolescence and result in electronic devices being discarded before the end of their useful life. These discarded devices contain hundreds of hazardous materials that can cause serious pollution and damage to health and the environment on disposal. Table 1.

Domestic sales data for various electronic devices in the Philippines (number of units) Year 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Televisions Air conditioners 568 870 597 314 627 179 658 538 691 465 726 038 762 340 800 457 840 480 882 504 926 629 972 961 911 339 765 240 799 300 930 300 883 100 943 000 1 014 500 104 690 109 925 115 421 121 192 127 251 133 614 140 295 147 309 154 675 162 409 170 529 179 055 225 362 308 500 250 500 320 500 371 900 393 700 501 100 Washing machines 311 931 327 528 343 904 361 099 379 154 398 112 418 017 438 918 460 864 483 907 508 103 533 508 676 554 524 200 525 500 576 700 570 600 588 800 685 000 Refrigerators Radios 341 960 359 058 377 011 395 861 415 655 436 437 458 259 481 172 505 231 530 492 557 017 584 868 603 632 488 000 459 426 445 300 484 200 464 500 612 500 353 615 371 296 389 861 409 354 429 821 451 312 473 878 497 572 522 450 548 573 576 002 604 801 617 170 799 400 595 600 715 300 601 400 495 300 402 200 E-waste policies Governments around the world have started instituting policies to tackle the growing problem of e-waste. In Japan, for example, the Home Appliances Recycling Law came into force in April 2001. This law targets four items: televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioners. It states that retailers are obliged to accept end-of-life appliances from consumers and take them to manufacturers or importers for recycling. Consumers are charged fees for the collection, transportation, and recycling of their discarded appliances.

Recycling fees differ according to the appliance: 2700 yen for a TV, 4600 yen for a refrigerator, 2400 yen for a washing machine, and 3500 yen for an air conditioner. 4 Members of the European Union (EU) have recognized the scope of the e-waste problem and have instituted a system of extended producer responsibility (EPR) to address it. On February 13, 2003, two EU Directives entered into force: Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS). 5 Directive 2002/96/EC on WEEE requires producers of electronics to take back and recycle waste electronic equipment. Directive 2002/95/EC on RoHS, on the other hand, requires the substitution of lead, MR, mercury cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in new electrical and electronic equipment put on the market from July 1, 2006. 7 The United States’ National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) is aimed at promoting greater product stewardship of electronic devices. Product stewardship means that all who make, distribute, use, and dispose of products share responsibility for reducing the environmental impact of those products. In the Philippines, Republic Act No. 9003, with the short title Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, was signed into law in January 2001.

RA 9003 sets guidelines and targets for solid waste avoidance and volume reduction through source reduction and waste minimization measures, including recycling, reuse, and recovery before collection, treatment, and disposal at appropriate and environmentally sound solid waste management facilities. Under this law, consumer electronics and white goods are classi? ed as special wastes requiring separate handling from other residential and commercial wastes. 8 Although the law recognizes these types of wastes, no clear guidelines have been set on how to handle them. Republic Act No. 6969, or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990, also regulates materials with hazardous components, but there is no explicit provision for e-waste. 9 Methodology To date, no known studies have been done to estimate e-waste generation and disposition in the Philippines. For this initial study, the following ? e electronic products are covered: televisions, air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, and radios. Domestic e-waste resulting from the obsolescence of these products is estimated using sales data. It must be noted that imported e-waste is not covered by this study because of the unavailability of data from government trade and statistics of? ces. Imported second-hand electronics are reported as part of new imports, and as a result the actual quantity that enters the country cannot be determined. Domestic electronic sales data Electronic sales data taken from the Philippine National Statistics Of? ce (NSO) is shown in Table 1. These numbers are used for calculating the amount of obsolete equipment generated.

Some time after an electronic product is purchased, it becomes obsolete to the owner. Industry data show that the average lifespan of televisions and radios is 8 years, whereas that for air conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators is 10 years. This information is used to determine the number of electronic products that become obsolete in a given year. In the case of televisions, all units bought in a certain year will become obsolete after 8 years. For instance, 36 Fig. 1. Electronic item end-of-life model. a, b, and c show the possible paths for reused items in 1985, 568,870 televisions were sold. All these became obsolete in 1993, 8 years after being purchased. Table 2.

Assumptions used to calculate the percentage of electronic devices that go through the various stages Parameters Value 8 years 8 years 10 years 10 years 10 years 50% 5% 30% 15% 3 years 20% 50% 30% 3 years 20% 80% End-of-life model A simple model is utilized to illustrate the end-of-life options of electronic products. This is patterned after the diagram used in a Carnegie Mellon University study conducted in 1997 to predict the number of computers that would be reused, stored, recycled, or land? lled in the United States by 2005. 1 The same model is applied to all ? ve electronic items considered in this study, with some expansion of the concept. According to the model shown in Fig. , a new electronic item is purchased and after some time it becomes obsolete. Four options are then available to the owner of the equipment. First, it could be reused – possibly resold or reassigned to another user. Second, the original owner could store it. Third, it could be recycled, or fourth, the equipment could be land? lled. As seen in the ? gure, reuse and storage are only intermediate phases in the lifecycle of the electronic item. An electronic item could go through other phases after being reused (a, b, c in Fig. 1) and stored. Recycle and land? ll are the end points. Several assumptions are made on how an electronic item advances through the various lifecycle options after it becomes obsolete.

During the reuse stage, the lifespan of a product is extended by a number of years. In this study, it is assumed that an electronic product can be reused for about 3 years. Some industry data show that the lifespan of televisions and radios range from 8 to 12 years and for air conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators the lifespan is about 10–15 years. Since the equipment under consideration has already been in use for either 8 or 10 years, it is assumed that during the reuse phase the electronic items can still be utilized for an additional 3 years, which is within their maximum design life. After reuse, the equipment can be stored, recycled, or land? lled.

When stored, the item remains idle for an additional amount of time. At this point, no value is derived from the stored equipment. It is assumed that an item remains in storage for 3 years. There is little chance of Lifespan of electronic device Television Radio Washing machine Refrigerator Air conditioner % Obsolete reused % Obsolete recycled % Obsolete stored % Obsolete land? lled Lifespan of reused electronic item % Reused recycled % Reused stored % Reused land? lled Lifespan of stored electronic item % Stored recycled % Stored land? lled reusing the equipment again. The only options after storage are recycling and land? lling. A summary of assumptions made is shown in Table 2.

In the absence of hard data, these assumptions are made based on observations of the recycling and reuse market, and known practices among users. An expanded diagram of the end-of-life model (Fig. 1), along with the assumptions used, is shown in Fig. 2. After items become obsolete, a large percentage is either reused or stored. It is assumed that 50% enters the reuse phase, while 30% remains in storage. There is a thriving reuse market in the country as evidenced by the prevalence of used appliances at home, schools, and small businesses and the presence of many second-hand electronic shops. Storage of used electronic items is also common because of the dif? ulty of disposing of them as a result of their bulky size as well as the limited disposal options available to consumers. A smaller percentage of the obsolete electronic items goes to recycling and land? lling, 5% and 15% respectively. The electronics recycling industry in the country is fairly new and it is assumed that only a small percentage goes to recycling. 37 Fig. 2. Expanded end-of-life model with predictive assumptions After the reuse phase, the electronic devices under consideration are already in their 11th or 13th year. They are no longer deemed useful at this time. The majority of the e-waste (50%) is again stored in attics, backyards, or warehouses until consumers feel the need to discard them.

The rest goes to recycling and land? lling. Whenever an electronic item goes into storage, there is no longer any chance of it being reused. After storage, which happens 3 to 6 years after initial purchase, the used electronic items are either recycled or land? lled. The majority of the items are assumed to be land? lled (80%) since recycling is fairly new to the Philippines and awareness of recycling practices is low. Ru = 0. 5Oj St = 0. 3Oj + 0. 25Oj ? 3 Rc = 0. 05Oj + 0. 16Oj ? 3 + 0. 05Oj ? 6 La = 0. 15Oj + 0. 39Oj ? 3 + 0. 20Oj ? 6 (1) (2) (3) (4) Estimation equations An electronic item is considered obsolete after it reaches the speci? c lifespan assumed in this study.

For televisions and radios it is 8 years, whereas for air conditioners, washing machines, and refrigerators it is 10 years. A television and air conditioner bought in 1985 are assumed to have become obsolete in 1993 and 1995 respectively. Using the sales data in Table 1 and the expanded model in Fig. 2, the following equations are used to estimate the number of units that are reused, stored, recycled, and land? lled. It should be noted that the equations are highly dependent on the assumptions made and will vary when changes are made in them: Where O is the number of obsolete items for the year, j is the year, and the subscript j ? 3 and j ? 6 means 3 or 6 years before the current year.

Ru is the number of reused items for the year, St is the number of stored items for the year, Rc is the number of recycled items for the year, and La is the number of land? lled items for the year. Equation 1 is used to calculate the number of reused obsolete items. Equation 2 determines the number of stored items for a given year. It should be noted that this is dependent on the current number of obsolete items as well as the obsolete items 3 years before the current year. This came about as a result of the assumption that when items are stored, they remain idle for 3 years and as such do not enter the waste stream immediately after becoming obsolete.

Equations 3 and 4 determine the number of available items for recycling and land? lling, respectively. Equation 5 estimates the number of items for recycling and is derived as: Rc = number of recycled items for the year = 5% of obsolete items for the current year + 20% of stored items from 3 years earlier + 20% of reused 38 Table 3. Generation estimates for televisions Televisions (units) Year 1995 2000 2005 2010 Obsolete 627 179 800 457 911 339 943 000 Reused 313 590 400 229 455 670 471 500 Recycled 31 359 180 523 224 885 223 686 Land? lled 94 077 509 203 633 345 647 769 Stored 188 154 413 003 494 028 482 725 Year 1995 2000 2005 2010 Table 6.

Generation estimates for refrigerators Refrigerators (units) Obsolete 341 960 436 437 557 017 445 300 Reused 170 980 218 219 278 508 222 650 Recycled 17 098 82 144 125 621 145 371 Land? lled 51 294 212 500 354 341 408 310 Stored 102 588 225 184 287 398 284 498 Table 4. Generation estimates for washing machines Washing machines (units) Year 1995 2000 2005 2010 Obsolete 311 931 398 112 508 103 576 700 Reused 155 966 199 056 254 051 288 350 Recycled 15 597 74 930 114 590 161 279 Land? lled 46 790 193 839 323 224 447 143 Stored 93 579 205 410 262 160 342 149 Table 7. Generation estimates for radios Radios (units) Year 1995 2000 2005 2010 Obsolete 389 861 497 572 617 170 495 300 Reused 194 930 248 786 308 585 247 650 Recycled 19 493 112 215 142 324 150 301 Land? led 58 479 316 525 401 295 427 539 Stored 116 958 256 727 322 294 297 490 Table 5. Generation estimates for air conditioners Air conditioners (units) Year 1995 2000 2005 2010 Obsolete 104 690 133 614 170 529 320 500 Reused 52 345 66 807 85 264 160 250 Recycled 5 235 25 148 38 459 60 203 Land? lled 15 704 65 056 108 480 168 448 Stored Table 8. Generation estimates for all the ? ve types of electronic products studied All electronic products (units) Year 31 407 68 939 87 986 152 491 1995 2000 2005 2010 1995– 2010 Obsolete Reused Recycled 88 781 474 960 645 878 740 840 8 417 810 Land? lled 266 343 1 297 123 1 820 685 2 099 209 23 517 044 Stored 532 686 1 169 263 1 453 866 1 559 352 19 986 015 775 621 887 810 2 266 192 1 133 096 2 764 158 1 382 079 2 780 800 1 390 400 39 327 269 19 663 634 items from 3 years earlier + 20% of stored items from 6 years earlier = 0. 05Oj + 0. 20(0. 30)(Oj? 3) + 0. 20(0. 50) (Oj? 3) + 0. 20 (0. 50)(0. 50Oj? 6) Rc = 0. 05Oj + 0. 16Oj ? 3 + 0. 05Oj ? 6 (5) Equation 6 allows calculation of the number of items for land? lling as: La = number of land? lled items for the year = 15% of obsolete items for the current year + 80% of stored items from 3 years earlier + 30% of reused items from 3 years earlier + 80% of stored items from 6 years earlier = 0. 15Oj + 0. 80(0. 30)(Oj? 3) + 0. 30(0. 50)(Oj? 3) + 0. 80 (0. 50)(0. 50 Oj? 6) La = 0. 15Oj + 0. 39Oj ? 3 + 0. 20Oj ? 6 (6)

Tables 3–7 show the generation estimates for each type of equipment. Although results are available for every year from 1995 to 2010, only the results at 5-year intervals are shown. Table 8 lists the current generation estimates for all equipment combined as well as the projected (2010) and cumulative estimates (1995–2010). Table 8 shows that at the end of 2005, an additional 2. 7 million units became obsolete. Approximately 1. 4 million units remained in storage and about 1. 8 million units required land? lling. Over a span of 10 years, from 1995 to 2005, a total of 25 million units became obsolete. In the 5 years until 2010, it is projected that an additional 14 million units will become obsolete.

More than a million units each go into land? ll and storage every year. If a proper system were in place to take these units back, a new source for materials recovery would be created. Results Conclusion In this study, only domestic sales data after 1985 are considered. Electronic products sold prior to 1985, which became obsolete thereafter, are not part of the generation estimates. The quantity of e-waste will continue to rise in the Philippines. The estimates derived in this study can be used as baseline data for designing and planning the necessary 39 management schemes to tackle this e-waste, such as buyback policies and the establishment of recycling centers, among others.

There is a need to strengthen the recycle market as this will help divert e-waste from the land? lls, thereby extending land? ll life and at the same time providing a new source for materials recovery.