U.S. Partners with Philippines, Taiwan to Promote Environmentally Sound Management of Electronic Waste

Manila, September 28, 2018 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration partnered to sponsor the 2018 International E-Waste Management Network workshop in Manila from September 24 to 28.  The event, hosted by the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources, brought together participants from 17 countries to discuss new policies, technologies, and best practices for electronic waste management, with a special focus on the Philippines’ experience.

At the opening ceremony, Barnes Johnson, Director of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Office at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said, “Today’s technology contains an assortment of materials such as highly engineered plastics, lead, lithium, and mercury.  Making sure that e-waste is safely recycled and doesn’t end up in our landfills will help preserve natural resources for future generations and reduce the environmental impacts from extraction of raw material.”

One of the key themes of the workshop was how to deepen engagement with industry and the private sector in order to implement a circular economy approach to e-waste management, increasing the amount of material that can be recycled and reducing overall waste.  Participants visited Semirecycling Co., a leader in the precious metals recycling industry in the Philippines, to learn about the company’s environmentally sound processing of used electronics and its health and safety practices for workers.

The growing volume of global electronic waste, including discarded products such as mobile phones, laptops, televisions, refrigerators, and electrical toys, threatens the environment and human health.  The hazard grows when the products are shipped to countries that lack sufficient regulations and technologies for disposal and safe processing as electronic goods often contain hazardous materials that can leach into soil and groundwater when disposed of improperly.  However, with proper management, many electronic products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled, protecting ecosystems as well as reducing demand for virgin materials.

The workshop, a result of cooperation between the United States, the Philippines, and Taiwan, leveraged resources and expertise from the U.S. and Asia to tackle this growing global environmental challenge.