CEA urges public to discard E-waste responsibly

by
Toxic chemicals within electronic/electric items leak once discarded, could cause serious health hazards
This is the festive season when ‘stock clearance’ and ‘seasonal sales’ entice us to buy new electrical and electronic items, to replace the old or outmoded ones. But how should we dump the old items?
As usage of electronic items grows, disposal of these also become a growing problem worldwide, and neither can Sri Lanka, escape from this new form of garbage known as Electronic Waste (E-waste), as stressed at the National Forum on E-waste Management held last Monday (19) at the BMICH. The Central Environment Authority (CEA) that operates the National E-waste Management Programme, organised this forum to find a way forward to address this growing problem of E-waste disposal in Sri Lanka, and the review of its progress.

Charitha Herath – CEA Chairman

With the advent of technology, household electrical and electronic items started flooding in, in the 1980s. Electronic items such as Television, Radios, Refrigerators, Computers and even Mobile phones contain toxic pollutants such as lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury, polyvinyl chlorides (PVC) and other metallic and chemical compounds. While it is safer to operate them when they are new, these toxic chemicals can leak out over time, getting released into the atmosphere, to become serious environmental and health hazards. Long-term exposure to these substances can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys and bones, as well as to the reproductive and endocrine systems. This has become a serious issue in industrialised countries which embraced these technologies, decades before they reached our country.

Dr. Sunil Herath of Giffith University, Australia, advisor to the UN on E-waste management in the Asia Region, making the guest lecture at this forum, said that safe management of E-waste is becoming a major problem in many countries. He revealed that the world generates around an estimated 20-50 million tons of E-waste annually, which ends up in Asian Countries.

Many regional countries impose regulations on E-waste. But, as a strategy to manage E-waste, the CEA initiated a programme facilitating the collection mechanism, prior to imposing regulations on extended producer responsibility. The National E-waste management programme of Sri Lanka was initiated last year in collaboration with 14 private sector partner companies including manufacturers, importers and brand owners of the e-waste. These companies set up collecting mechanisms, where sellers of electronic items finance the treatment of their own-branded e-waste, discarded by their customers. For example, mobile phone collection centers are set up to collect the discarded phones.

The CEA has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which brand owners or manufacturers of electronic products will set up these collecting centres in Sri Lanka, and will review the progress of this programme. Addressing the gathering, CEA chairman Charitha Herath said, “I believe that these companies have already proven their environmental accountability by implementing successful programmes in E-waste management”.

The CEA chairman also pointed out that, with the drastic growth of E-waste, related health issues are also on the rise, and stressed the need to raise awareness of the issue. Some parents don’t even hesitate to give their discarded mobile phones for their children to play with. But, as the lifespan of these phones expire, and the protective layers come off, these gadgets become more vulnerable – so societal awareness too helps prevent the spread of E-waste damage, he said.

Known as clean mechanism to reduce power consumption, CFL bulbs (Compact fluorescent light) too are now increasing in use. But little known is that these bulbs too need to be discarded with care, as they contain a little Mercury within. They are perfectly safe when the bulb is intact. But when broken, this metal can leak, causing pollution. Hence, these should not be discarded by just throwing them into the garbage bin, which will end up in a landfill site. Though each bulb contains only small amounts of Mercury, at the landfill dumping site, these will accumulate to cause major pollution. At the forum, ‘Asia Recycles’, a subsidiary of Orange electric also made a presentation on their initiative to recycle CFL bulbs, by setting up South Asia’s first CFL bulb recycle plant. This plant set up recently in Homagama, has the capacity to recycle 30,000,000 bulbs annually, which is nearly three times greater than the annual CFL usage in Sri Lanka.

The CEA urges the public to discard their E-waste in a responsible manner, and not become polluters. Best way to discard these electronic and electrical items is by handing them over to a collection centre. The CEA requests public to dial the government information hotline 1919, if they wish to know where the closest E-waste collection units is, to their residence or establishment.

Published on 25.12.2011 on SundayTimes http://sundaytimes.lk/111225/News/nws_10.html

Tags:

One Response to “CEA urges public to discard E-waste responsibly”

  1. Reverse Vending Says:

    WORLD’S FIRST LIGHT BULB RECYCLING MACHINE LAUNCHED

    REVEND RECYCLING LIMITED, a UK corporation, announces the launch of an innovative reverse vending recycling machine for the collection and recycling of domestic light bulbs and domestic batteries.

    The patented reVend® reverse vending recycling machine is the “FIRST” domestic light bulb reverse vending recycling machine of its type in the World and has been jointly designed and developed by Revend Recycling Ltd and Repant ASA, a corporation listed on the Norwegian Stock Exchange.

    The light bulb recycling machine has an add-on unit, as an option, for the collection and recycling of domestic batteries which contain valuable and scarce natural mineral resources.

    Increased demand for recycling light bulbs and the international change over to
    CFL (long life – low energy) and LED domestic light bulbs and the recycling of domestic batteries is a key environment policy for all Governments, the EU Commission and the United Nations.

    Recycling rates in the domestic lighting industry is in “sharp focus” internationally as significant waste tonnage amounts remain untreated and unprocessed. Used light bulbs frequently end up in “landfill” sites at considerable environmental and financial cost.

    The new range of light bulb recycling machines from Revend® will help to increase national recycling rates and assist companies and organisations comply with their recycling targets and environmental recycling obligations.

    Revend Recycling will sell & market unique reverse vending recycling machines throughout Europe, USA & worldwide under its brand name Revend®.

    Repant will manufacture /assemble the recycling machines based on its innovative COSMOS reverse vending recycling machine technology.

    FEATURES of the light bulb reverse vending recycling machine are:

    • Safety is paramount in design and functionality.
    • Automated safe collection and recycling of domestic light bulbs, including incandescent bulbs; CFL light bulbs (which contain mercury – a hazardous waste) & LED light bulbs.
    • Battery Collection unit available as an ‘add-on’ extra.
    • Unique in-built technology safely recycles light bulbs containing mercury and other hazardous materials.
    • Automated soft drop system safely collects and lowers light bulbs into a special collection container, minimising breakages.

    • An internal mercury fume extractor and mercury fume filter absorbs / removes any escaped mercury fumes.
    • It is a ‘stand alone’ machine similar in size to a vending machine.
    • User automatically receives a reward incentive voucher which can be used for product discounts and sales incentives.
    • Staff do not need to touch the ‘potentially harmful’ recycled light bulbs when removing from the recycling bin.
    • Unique technology facilitates the compiling of auditable statistics on bulb types by manufacturer and volumes recycled.
    • Includes a TV screen for Digital Media Advertising and environmental messages.
    • Display cabinet provides scope for advertising and corporate / product branding.
    • User friendly LED touch screen menu includes option for numerous languages.
    • Opportunity to donate rewards to Charity.
    • Database is updated regularly via telemetry from anywhere in the world by authorised users.
    • Automatically sends text or email when secure light bulb storage container is nearly full and needs emptying.
    • Complies with EU and USA environmental and recycling standards.
    Revend Recycling recently concluded a supply agreement with IKEA of Sweden, a leading international retailer, and will install a significant number of machines in several IKEA stores throughout Europe, including the UK, Germany, & Denmark.

    Revend Recycling pioneered the supply agreement with IKEA following a successful “pilot” installation in IKEA, Lakeside Shopping Centre near London, UK.

    IKEA is the first to install the unique light bulb reverse vending recycling technology in its stores starting with IKEA Wembley and IKEA Wednesbury, West Midlands.

    Customers of IKEA who recycle used light bulbs will automatically receive a reward incentive voucher to use in-store and also have the option to make a donation to Charity – UNICEF; Save the Children; WWF and the Woodland Trust

    A major sales and PR marketing campaign internationally has been launched to promote the unique light bulb recycling machine and battery collection unit.

    http://www.light-bulb-recycling.co.uk/
    Revend Recycling would be pleased to hear from companies interested in distributing its new reVend® reverse vending light bulb recycling technology.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: