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E-waste management practices Essay

Electronic technology is a cornerstone of modern society. It plays an important role in our daily lives. Increasingly throughout the world, electronic technology has become a staple in daily living. From communication, harnessing resources, to obtaining and sharing knowledge, electronic equipment plays a crucial role in the basic function of society. However, as electronic equipment grows in number due to the advancement of technology, so does electronic wastes. E-Waste refers to electronic products nearing the end of their useful life which includes computers, printers, scanners, or any electronic products.

Today, the world has been embracing the age of technological changes. Such changes are adopted by various business establishments particularly Internet Cafes; leading them in replacing obsolete electronic equipments to newer ones, creating large tons of e-wastes, which in turn demands the challenge of having a proper e-waste management.

For instance, sixty percent (60%) of people interviewed in Congo, particularly internet café staff and owners, said that they did not know that ewaste has negative effects on health and the environment. Due to the lack of policy on management of this category of waste, people tend to mix ewaste with regular garbage and throw it in public bins. The waste is mixed up and taken to the landfill without any pre-sorting (Niombo, 2010). Internet Cafes should have a special collection system, and a management option to handle these wastes properly for a sustainable development. Without adequate e-waste management, potential threats to health will occur and may threaten ecological balance.

To combat the issue, a study is conducted pertaining to E-waste Management Practices among Internet Cafes in the City of Dumaguete. This study would determine the e-waste management practiced by internet cafes and the information will be utilize in extracting valuable lessons from the study in order to improve the effectiveness of the practiced e-waste management methods on Internet cafes. From the outcome of this study, a better way of management would be developed, a systematic management would be made and would be adopted in which it would lessen their burden by providing guidelines that includes recycling process, the application of 3R’s, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle which are stipulated & highly stressed in this research. It will also be used as the basis in creating an E-Waste Tracking System that will be implemented on respective Internet Cafes in the City of Dumaguete.

Review of Related Literature, Studies or Systems

Review of Related Literature

This section contains background information and concepts that explains the existence of the problem and the possible connection between certain factors involved in the study. This would help the researchers identify and define issues that justify the need of studying the problem. This includes the definition of e-waste and its related issues that explain the existence of a proper e-wastes management. This also includes the e-waste management by different countries. But before going though e-waste management, there should be understanding pertaining to e-wastes.

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a term for electronic products that have become unwanted, non-working or obsolete, and have essentially reached the end of their useful life. Because technology advances at such a high rate, many electronic devices become “trash” after a few short years of use. In fact, whole categories of old electronic items contribute to e-waste such as VCRs being replaced by DVD players, and DVD players being replaced by blu-ray players.

E-waste is created from anything electronic: computers, TVs, monitors, cell phones, PDAs, VCRs, CD players, fax machines, printers, etc. Additionally, e-waste is any refuse created by discarded electronic devices and components as well as substances involved in their manufacture or use (Rouse, 2007). According to Johri (2008), E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. Some of the notable items under this category include personal computers, mobile phones.

The technical innovations and rapid change in the models of these entities have generated huge quantum of wastes. With increasing level of penetration, supplemented by high rate of these equipments, the generation of electronic wastes is expected to rise. Kishore (2010) affirmed that the quantity of “e-waste” or electronic waste has now become a major problem. Disposal of e-waste is an emerging global environmental and public health issue, as this waste has become the most rapidly growing segment of the formal municipal waste stream in the world. Sales of electronic products, most notable information technology and telecom (IT) equipment have steadily increased over the past twenty years (Brown-West, 2010).

Salleh (2013) revealed that the director of the Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Professor Wong said that “he would call e-wastes as a global time bomb, referring to the growing pile of waste produced by old mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices. As much as 50 million tons of hazardous e-waste is being produced a year and only a small fraction of this is safely disposed. In a personal computer, for example, there may be lead in the cathode ray tube (CRT) and soldering compound, mercury in switches and housing, and cobalt in steel components, among other equally toxic substances (Rouse, 2007). In many instances, the only visible part of an electronic product is its outer shell. Unless that casing is broken, we rarely see the myriad circuit boards, wiring and electrical connections that make the device actually function. But it’s those inner mechanical organs that are so valuable and so toxic.

A whole bouquet of heavy metals, semimetals and other chemical compounds lurk inside your seemingly innocent laptop or TV. E-waste dangers stem from ingredients such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, copper, beryllium, barium, chromium, nickel, zinc, silver and gold. Many of these elements are used in circuit boards and comprise electrical parts such as computer chips, monitors and wiring. Also, many electrical products include various flame-retardant chemicals that might pose potential health risks. Arsenic may disrupt cell communication and interfere with the triggers that cause cells to grow, possibly contributing to cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes if someone is exposed in chronic, low doses. (Toothman, 2001). With these issues pertaining to e-wastes, particularly on health, there is a pressing need to address ewaste management.

The unsafe and environmentally risky practices adopted poses great risks to health and environment (Shiga, 2007). E-Waste management provides guidelines for selecting the most environmentally desired methods for managing a waste stream. E-waste collection programs need guidelines to assure that products are managed in a way that protects public health and the environment and conserves valuable resources. The best option for dealing with E wastes is to reduce the volume. Designers should ensure that the product is built for re-use, repair and/or upgradeability. Stress should be laid on use of less toxic, easily recoverable and recyclable materials which can be taken back for refurbishment, remanufacturing, disassembly and reuse. Recycling and reuse of material are the next level of potential options to reduce e-waste.(Recovery of metals, plastic, glass and other materials reduces the magnitude of e-waste.

These options have a potential to conserve the energy a nd keep the environment free of toxic material that would otherwise have been released (Joseph ,2007). E-Waste issues needs special policies with strict enforcement taking into account its special nature. These policies need to address collection, processing, disposal and recycling of ewaste. These policies also need to target education and public awareness about the dangers of ewaste for a better understanding of how to dispose of it, due to a general ignorance of its problems Skills transference should also be promoted and practical proposals created to deal with old technology once it reaches its end of life. Legal measures should therefore be accompanied by capacity development programmes.

Government and development partners need to develop a clear national policy for the collection and management of ewaste, encourage private investment in recycling that takes into account both environmental and human health, implement programmes to educate the public about ewaste management. Civil society needs to develop projects to raise awareness about recycling and the dangers of ewaste (Burrell, 2012). Actions to be generated are arranged into three main categories: first, a management program to help properly manage e-wastes; second, education and research to help further the knowledge of e-waste management and build upon the knowledge gained through the management program to create national policy for e-waste; and finally, a project core to provide guidance and unity of the entire e-waste project.

According to a report put out by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) entitled “Solving the E-waste Problem”, the main steps in the recycling chain of proper management include Collection; Sorting/Dismantling and Pre-processing (includes sorting, dismantling, and mechanical treatment which can utilize high-tech or low-tech processes); End-Processing (includes refining and disposal).The effectiveness of the entire recycling chain depends on each step and how well the interfaces between steps are managed. (Utkucan, 2010). Prior to E-waste Management, “many of e-waste could be a new electronic item is purchased and after some time it becomes obsolete. Four options are then available to the owner of the equipment. 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 landfilled. Recycle and landfill are the end points” (Peralta, 2006). Several countries have their way of managing these e-wastes. According to Babington (2010), the Department of Environment (DOE) in Malaysia has placed 309 recycle bins to collect used hand pones and its accessories in various locations such as supermarkets, universities, government offices, but majority of the residence are yet to comply due to limited awareness. Subsequently, Department of Environment (DOE) have encouraged the establishment of e-waste recycling facilities by private sector and since then 141 recycling facilities have been licensed by DOE.

The need for e-waste recyclers at different MRF and DOE to champion e-waste management cannot be over emphasized. In China, 88.843 million tons of recyclable waste were traded and recycled at a total value of 34.85 billion USD (Asiimwe, E.N. n.d.). In 2008, an e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) was established to help establish an sustainable environmentally sound e-waste management system for the country (Waste management world, 2013). Land filling is the predominant by means of disposal of MSW now in China with approximately 90% of China’s total MSW is disposed of in sanitary and simple landfills (Dong, 2011).

The city of Guiyu with its surrounding towns in the Guangdong, a region of China is the largest E-waste recycling site in the world. Recycling has been occurring since 1995. Guiyu has a population of 150,000, most of which are immigrants. Nearly 80% of families have members who have engaged in E-waste recycling operations (Robinson, 2009). Moreover, all the recycling is being carried out by the informal sector. It is estimated that 120,000 urban poor from the informal sector are involved in the recycling trade chain in Dhaka city. 15% of the total e-waste generated in Dhaka (mainly inorganic) equates to 475 tons recycled daily.

Of this amount, only 20% to 35% is recycled, while the remainder is disposed of in landfills, rivers, ponds, drains, lakes and open spaces (Hossain, 2009). On the other hand, Mexico has ratified the Basel Convention. UNEP cited Mexico as a country with great potential to introduce state-of-the-art e-waste recycling technologies because of its small informal-waste sector. In 2006, in cooperation with the US State of California, one of the few state-of-the-art electronic recycling facilities in Latin America was installed in Monterrey, the first major electronic recycling operation in Mexico.

Additionally, In Serbia, waste management infrastructure is seriously underdeveloped, with few regulated landfills. Large amounts of e-waste are being stored in warehouses and homes. There is also an active informal sector, consisting mainly of disadvantaged people such as the Roma. In general, collectors have low interest in e-waste due to its complexity and the lack of potential buyers; as a result, their top priorities include paper, plastic and scrap metals.

However, there are highly unorganized, informal e-waste recyclers who use rudimentary techniques such as burning cables to extract copper. These practices are unregulated, with no employment contracts (Lundgren, 2012). Above All, different countries have their way of managing their e-waste; basically comprising from the informal and the formal sector. In view of the issues caused by e-wastes, a proper e-waste management is a great challenge especially to those places that are not aware of the hazards of those wastes. There must be an implementation plan and regulated policies reading the disposal of e-wastes. With all mentioned practices in various places, recycling is the most commonly practiced by various places. Furthermore, regulations should be designed in conjunction with the establishment of formal recycling infrastructure, or any collection system towards a better e-waste management to ensure the safety and protection from threats posed by these e-wastes.

Review of Related Systems
This contains related studies conducted by different researchers and development of e-waste tracking systems to keep track the generation of e-wastes. This includes concepts about E-Waste Tracking systems developed by different countries in order to track the generation of e-wastes. As instance, Switzerland, the first electronic waste recycling system was
implemented in 1991, beginning with collection of old computer monitors; over the years, all other electric and electronic devices were gradually added to the system. The opportunity is to find better ways to manage our used and end-of-life electronics and avoid them ending up in landfills, and that is though e-waste management (Lanyard, 2000). Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) has launched a new tracking and transparency system that gives customers complete real-time access to the status of their organizational recycling efforts, the company says.

The MyTrackTech software gives organizations that recycle their electronic waste through ERI up-to-the-minute access to their accounts and allows them to schedule shipments, review reports, and customize their recycling tracking. The MyTrackTech software is the first comprehensive customer access portal of its kind in the industry (Shegerian, 2012). Department of Heritage and Protection (DHP) are developing a tracking system that an effective waste tracking system will be able to provide EHP with all prescribed information required by schedule 2 of the Waste Regulation. The information from any one waste handler should be able to be provided to EHP in batches.

The system must also be able to provide EHP with proof (equivalent to a signature on a form) that the information has been authorized by an appropriate person. Such authorization may include the use of a particular header for the data or a private key or password/code word (Department of Heritage and Protection, 2010). In the article “A Global Pinball Game: Tracking E-Waste” that there are two common fates for old electronics, recycling or reuse. To track the reuse stream, the team collaborated with World Computer Exchange, World Teach and the Peace Corps, which all send outdated computers to countries the developing world.

Forty donated netbooks were equipped with tracking software and labeled with stickers announcing that they recording their whereabouts. After arriving at their destinations, the computers send out location updates and snapshots of their surroundings every 20 minutes. With this data, the team is able to create a real-time visual narrative of these computers’ second lives in classrooms in Nepal and public libraries in Kenya.

“For the first time, you can actually see where your old laptop ends up and who is benefiting on a day-to-day basis from your donation (Foster, 2011). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collaborates with the United Nations University – Solving the E-waste Problem Initiative (StEP) to jointly address the e-waste problem in developing countries. EPA and StEP signed a cooperative agreement on this topic in November 2010. EPA and StEP are working collaboratively on developing a system for tracking global flows of e-waste, strengthening Ethiopia’s efforts to manage e-waste and engaging with China on e-waste management practices (Adrian, 2003).

There are many related systems that are being developed in order to keep track of the flow of e-wastes coming from different sources. An e-waste management system should be implemented to avoid risks towards our health and environment. One way of having a proper e-waste management is the creation of an e-waste tracking system that provide users to keep track of the e-wastes disposed by Internet cafes in the City of Dumaguete.

Statement of the problem
This research aims to analyze issues regarding e-wastes, study the e-waste management strategies practiced by Internet Cafes and use the information in order to develop a better way of managing e-wastes in an environmentally manner.

This study tries to answer the questions:
1. What is the demographic profile of Internet Cafes in terms of: a. Services offered;
b. Number of Computers;
c. Years of operation;
d. Location;
e. No. of personnel; and
f. No. of Customers per day?
2. How often do Internet Cafes replace their electronic equipments? 3. What type of electronic equipments that are usually disposed by Internet Cafes? 4. Where do Internet Cafes usually dispose their electronic wastes? 5. What is the current e-waste management practiced by Internet Cafes?

H0: Internet Cafes should have an e-waste management in terms of proper
e-waste disposal; where and how should these e-wastes be disposed in an environmentally manner.

Technical Background and Project Description E-Waste Management Practices among the City of Dumaguete is a research study about the mode/method of management of Internet cafes pertaining to their e-wastes. In order fully achieve the aims of the study, researchers first defined the design concept of the study which incorporates the conceptual framework on the methods undergone by researchers in the research process; from the defining the requirements towards the outcome of the study. The resulting outcome would be beneficial towards the implementation of a sustainable e-waste management. This also includes the approach used by researchers in fulfilling the said framework.

Design Concept

Figure1. Conceptual Framework

Figure 1 illustrates the design concept of developing the study showing a conceptual framework; from the inputs, approach used and the outcome towards the development of the study on E-Waste Management Practices. With that occurrence, a study on e-waste management practices is conducted to aid businesses in the City of Dumaguete that would give those ideas on how to manage e-wastes in an appropriate and best way to manage them. The presentation of the conceptual framework of this study shown in Figure 1 is formulated towards the fulfillment of achieving the result; an e-waste management practices among Internet cafes in the City of Dumaguete.

The Input variables includes demographic profile of the business in terms of services offered, number of computers used, years of operation, the location of the internet café, no. of personnel, no. of customers per day, frequency of replacing electronic equipments, type of electronic equipments usually disposed by internet cafes, location to where internet cafes usually dispose their e-wastes and the current e-waste management strategy practiced by internet cafes. The Input variables are passed through a task of performing operations called the a process.

These data will be utilized on the development of the study. Information will then be evaluated through agile method. This method involves the initial planning, identifying the requirements, analysis and design, implementation, testing and evaluation. After executing the task of processing those input variables, an output is made. After the process, a result is formulated, a study on e-waste entitled “E-Waste Management among Internet Cafes in the City of Dumaguete”. Design Method

Figure2. Agile Method

Figure 2 illustrates a method used by researchers in the development of the study. It shows an agile method used by researchers. Agile Method is a practice-based methodology for modeling and documentation of software-based systems. This would include collection of practices – guided by principles and values – that are meant to be applied by software professionals on a day-to-day basis. It is intended to be a collection of values, principles, and practices for modeling software that can be applied on a software development project in a more flexible manner than traditional modeling methods.

These are the methods that will be used throughout the research study for obtaining the e-waste management practices among Internet cafes in the City of Dumaguete. It starts with the initial planning. The researchers do the initial planning. In the planning phase, researchers identifies the requirements of the planned research study, thus, researchers come up with an idea of having an E-Waste Management study of E-wastes among Internet Cafes in Dumaguete City.

The next method is the analysis and design. Here, researchers analyze the existence of problems pertaining to E-waste. With the results of the analysis, researchers would be creating a strategic plan based on the design concept of having such study. A strategic plan that would be implemented within the City of Dumaguete towards Internet Cafes. Next method is the implementation of the strategic plan. From the results of a survey, researchers determine the best practices on how to manage e-wastes in an environmentally manner. Thus, minimizing the threats of these e-wastes. Lastly, researchers evaluates such study whether this research is effective enough in getting rid of the hazardous effects of e-wastes and the burden of having large tons of e-wastes on some Internet Cafes, which would enable researchers to achieve their aim of this study entitled “E-waste Management practices among Internet Cafes in the City of Dumaguete.”

This study will be beneficial because its implementation can be an opportunity in creating economically and environmentally sustainable businesses among the licensed Internet Cafes in the City of Dumaguete. To the City of Dumaguete: This study will help to promote healthy and safety environment by giving Dumaguetenians self-awareness of how important it is to dispose their electronic-wastes properly.

Thus, by doing this, it contributes to energy efficiency, conservation of resources and economic growth. To the Internet Café Business Owners: This study will be helpful in optimizing eco-efficiency of managing the proper disposal of their electronic wastes while maintaining the productivity of its businesses. This is very important in the sense that it provides ideas on understanding about the management of end-of-life electronic wastes, which includes their proper management through proper disposal, 3R’s, correct extraction, incinerations and others.

To the Information Technology Students: This study will give benefit for them in their future studies with regards to E-waste Management. It will serve as guide references for their future studies and will give further information regarding E-waste Management. To the Researchers: This study is very essential towards researchers for their fulfillment in developing an proper E-Waste Management for further implementation towards Dumaguete Internet Cafes, which would basically give them ideas about the best practices to be done towards e-wastes and use these as a basis in creating an E-Waste Tracking System in the second semester, thus, achieving the aim of their study.

Respondents: Internet Cafes in the City of Dumaguete.
Instruction: Please fill up the following what is being asked. Part I: Business Profile
Business Name: _____________________________________________ Owner:____________________________________________________
Address: __________________________________________________

Instruction: Please check the box that corresponds to your answer. Part II: E-Waste Management Practices
A. What are the services offered by your business establishment? Scanning
Research Station
Others, please specify: __________________________

B. How many computers are used by the business?
Others, please specify: __________________________

C. How many years have you been operating your internet cafe? 2
Others, please specify: __________________________

D. Where does your internet café situated?
Near the highway
Near the school
Near the church
Near the city hall
Far from the city
within a very crowded place
Others, please specify: __________________________

E. How many attendants or personnel do you have?
less than 5
less than 10
15 and above
Others, please specify: __________________________

F. What is the minimum number of customers that you cater everyday? less than 10
Less than 20
Less than 15
Less than 20
Less than 30
40 and above
Others, please specify: __________________________

II. How frequent do you dispose your e-wastes in a year?
Others, please specify: __________________________

III. What type of electronic equipments do you usually dispose?
Others, please specify: __________________________

IV. Where do you dispose your electronic wastes?
At home
Near the café
Burning holes
Others, please specify: __________________________

V. What is your current management strategy pertaining to your e-wastes?
Sell to Junkshops
Dispose to landfills
Store them to storage areas
Recycle them
Donate to E-waste Processing Centers
Others, please specify: _______________________________________

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http://searchdatacenter.techtarget.com/definition/e-waste. Last updated: March 2007.

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Shiga, O. (2007). E-waste Management Manual. Retrieved from http://www.unep.or.jp/ietc/publications/spc/ewastemanual_vol2.pdf

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