Zero Waste Advocates to Visit Pioneering Lamp Waste Recycling Project

Photos by EcoWaste Coalition showing current disposal practice for mercury-containing lamp waste in Metro Manila and elsewhere.
society advocates for public health and zero waste will visit a facility that
is expected to advance the environmentally-sound management of
mercury-containing lamp waste.
On Wednesday, September 10, a 12-person delegation from the EcoWaste Coalition
will visit the Lamp Waste Management Faciity (LWMF) in Taguig City, which is
operated by the Department of Energy (DOE) during the pilot phase.

The “lakbay-aral” is organized by the EcoWaste Coalition’s Clean Production
Committee in coordination with DOE’s Energy Research and Testing Laboratory
Services under Director Amelia de Guzman.

“We are keen to see how discarded fluorescent lamps can be safely recycled
through the LWMF to ensure that their mercury content does not poison waste
workers, the environment and the food chain,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of
the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Joining the “lakbay-aral” are members of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Secretariat,  Ban Toxics,  Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without
Harm, International
Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT)-Philippines, International POPs
Elimination Network, Mother Earth Foundation, Nagkakakaisang Mananambakan
 sa Dumpsite Area, and Zero Waste

Early this year, the EcoWaste Coalition published a photo investigative report
entitled “The Toxic Silence of the Lamps” illustrating how busted or spent
lamps are unsafely disposed of in Metro Manila’s 17 local government units, and
the need for a practical system for the safe collection, storage and recycling
of such lamps.

According to the report, “the indiscriminate disposal of busted or spent
fluorescent lamps as common trash  is not
only polluting the surroundings, but is also exposing waste handlers, informal
recyclers and the  public to mercury, a
potent neurotoxin, which can lead to acute and chronic intoxication even at low
 levels of exposure.”

The group submitted the report to the DOE, as well as to the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), to push for the speedy implementation
of an extended producer responsibility system for lighting products under the
Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 2013-09-2001 of the two departments.
The DOE purchased the LWMF equipment in 2013 from the Mercury Recovery Technology
(MRT) System International based in Karlskrona, Sweden for US$1.37 million,
inclusive of taxes and customs duties.

The facility is comprised of a lamp processor, high-density discharge
processor, batch process distiller, drying oven and vapor monitor.

The LWMF, according to the DOE, is “a facility where all spent
mercury-containing lamps shall undergo recycling to recover mercury and other
by-products (to) avert residual mercury from entering the food chain through
landfill leaching into ground water.”