Dispose of old e-gadgets properly, says DENR chief

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06:00 PM January 12th, 2013

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By: DJ Yap, January 12th, 2013 06:00 PM

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje. AFP

MANILA, Philippines–Environment Secretary Ramon Paje on Saturday warned the public against recklessly throwing their old gadgets in the trash bin, noting the environmental hazards posed by improperly disposed electronic devices.

“You have three main choices for properly getting rid of your old or unused electronics: trade it, donate it or recycle it,” Paje said in a statement.

For those who could use extra cash, he said old electronic gadgets and appliances that are still working can be sold online or to friends.

On the other hand, those who are not hurting for cash may consider donating them.

“Gadgets like cell phones and laptops could be used to fund a good cause, or go to someone who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it,” Paje said.

He said people can discover many uses for old electronic equipment without harming the environment. Some electronic and mobile phone companies and recycling centers collect electronic waste or “e-waste,” he said.

E-waste contains potentially toxic chemicals that can seep into the soil or water supply and escape into the air, posing danger to humans, Paje said.

“If you happen to replace or simply have unused electronic gears or appliances sitting around the house, don’t just throw them in the trash,” Paje said.

“Many components of such equipment are considered toxic and are not biodegradable, and therefore can be harmful to the environment and human health if not disposed of properly,” he said.

Particularly, he said hard and sharp metals and toxic chemicals found in electronics, such as lead, chromium, nickel, zinc and mercury, can mix with other harmful substances in sanitary landfills.

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