DPW obtains go-signal to get rid of e-waste

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Posted on Mar 19 2019

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E-waste collection continues at the transfer station in Lower Base. (Contributed Photo)

The Department of Public Works’ Solid Waste Management Division recently confirmed that electronic waste in the amount of 200 tons has been guaranteed and granted for disposal following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acknowledgement of consent and the assistance of the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality.

According to SWMD director Enrique Dela Cruz, the AOC is the approval for waste import/export tracking shipments for off-island recycling.

“E-waste collection has been ongoing following Typhoon Soudelor in 2015 and the effort began as a Federal Emergency Management Agency and DPW 90/10 cost share,” Dela Cruz said.

With e-waste continuing to pile up, DPW has contracted Artman Corp. to ship out 10 40-foot shipping containers to the Republic of South Korea at a cost of $13,000 per each container—for a total of $130,000, he added.

Acting Public Works secretary James Ada noted that the division was approved for cathode-ray tube recycling in August 2018.

“With this approval from [EPA], along with the approval of South Korea’s Daegu Regional Environmental Agency, we are able to export up to 200 tons of e-waste to alleviate the burden of our landfill. In the last four years, including debris removal during [Super] Typhoon Yutu, this agreement has been a critical part of keeping our solid waste under control and protecting our environment,” Ada said.

The EPA AOC is valid from July 30, 2018 through April 30, 2019.

“At the beginning of this effort, Allied Pacific Environmental Consulting provided three 40-foot shipping containers in 2016. …Artman Corporation supplements the additional need for shipping containers to export more of these waste products,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres. “I am very pleased that this has been put into place amidst the current recovery efforts of Typhoon Yutu.”

While DPW continues to explore more efficient and cost-effective recycling options, this e-waste program has greatly alleviated the Marpi landfill, said Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios

“We are very cognizant of the need to increase the capacity of our landfill but, at the same time, I commend the department for the initiative to continue the current sorting and recycling program and partnership with Korea as we improve our solid-waste management and mitigation efforts,” Palacios said.

Dela Cruz added that, as e-waste continues to increase in volume, additional shipping containers may be sought to meet program demands.

“Through a collaborative effort with EPA and BECQ, we have shipped out about [21] 40-foot shipping containers filled with e-waste to the U.S. mainland and more will be shipped out. Currently, 30 containers are waiting for export,” Dela Cruz said.

With the AOC from EPA and approval for import from the Republic of South Korea, Dela Cruz says that DPW has also shipped out 10 40-foot shipping containers which weighed a total of 147 tons. 

“We’re allowed up to 200 tons, but the outlook for e-waste on island is now being handled by EPA and BECQ collection from the Public School System, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., other government agencies, public/private businesses, and the remaining products at the transfer station,” he said.

For more information, contact the Solid Waste Management Division in Lower Base at (670) 322-2745/2760. (PR)

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