Developing a National E-Waste
Maria Farrell, Task Manager for
infoDev on E-Waste Brazil
Presentation to Caribbean Regional
Workshop on ICT in Education Policy
27 July, 2011
Structure of this presentation
1. What is e-waste?
2. Why develop an e-waste strategy?
3. What are the challenges for developing
4. What are other emerging economies doing?
5. How to get started!
6. Online resources
7. Contact me
1.1 What is e-waste?
• Electronic and electrical equipment waste, 'e-waste', is
generated by a large variety of appliances, from large
household appliances (washing machines,
refrigerators, televisions) to small electronic devices
such as cell phones, computers and consumer
• Globally, 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste each
• E-waste is growing faster than any other waste stream
E-waste is both a critical environmental issue
and an economic opportunity
1.2 E-Waste: Environmental Issue
1.3 What’s in E-Waste (the small print)
• Lead Brominated flame retardants (BFRs)
• Potential damage to the central and peripheral Impacts on neurobehavioral development.
nervous systems, blood systems, kidney and Small household appliances, IT equipment (circuit
reproductive system in humans.
• Negative effect on children’s brain development. boards) ; TV & Monitors (CRT monitors), plastics
• TV & Monitors (especially CRT monitors); Small housings.
household appliances, IT equipment (circuit boards). Barium
• Cadmium Short-term exposure to barium can cause brain
• Toxic, with a possible risk of irreversible effects on swelling, muscle weakness, damage to the heart,
human body. liver, and spleen.
• TV & Monitors (CRT monitors) ; Small household Small household appliances, IT equipment
appliances, IT equipment (circuit boards). (computers) ; TV & Monitors (CRT monitors).
• Mercury Beryllium
• Damage to various organs, including the brain and Classified as a human carcinogen as exposure to
kidneys, as well as the fetus. it can cause lung cancer.
• Small household appliances, IT equipment (circuit Small household appliances, IT equipment
boards, cell phones, etc.), fluorescent lamps including
LCD backlights. (computers).
• Hexavalent Chromium / Chromium VI Toners
• Damage to DNA and extremely toxic in the The black and color toners within the plastic
environment. printer cartridge may be carcinogen (esp. carbon
• Large household appliances (steel). black used).
• Plastics (including PVC) Small household appliances (computer
• Dioxins can be formed when PVC is burned within a peripherals).
certain temperature range. Phosphor and additives
• Small household appliances, IT equipment Toxic to human health if touched.
(computers, cell phones, consumer electronic, …) ; TV TV & Monitors (CRT monitors).
& Monitors (CRT monitors), cables.
1.4 E-Waste: Environmental Issue
• Inappropriate end-of-life management of e-
waste can create toxic environmental impacts:
– Manual dismantling: people dismantling
electronic and electrical equipment manually may
suffer health impacts
– Landfill: toxic substances in e-waste can
contaminate water sources and ground soil with
cadmium, mercury & lead, and release CFCs
– Incineration of e-waste plastics generates harmful
dioxins and furans
1.4 E-Waste: Economic Opportunity
1.5 E-Waste: Economic Opportunity
• The growing e-waste economic opportunity is
– Valuable components and materials contained in
electronic waste (e.g. gold, copper, silver,
– Regulatory approaches such as Extended Producer
Responsibility (EPR) schemes that ensure
additional financing for collection and recycling
1.7 Follow the Money
• Not all parts of the cycle are individually
economically sustainable – even with lots of
• Precious metal extraction can be profitable,
but requires huge investment & expertise
• Collection is difficult and expensive
• Regulatory action can allocate costs through
the product life cycle AND the recycling chain
2.1 Why develop an e-waste strategy?
• A national strategy implemented by regulation may
have the objective to:
– Determine the basis on which the market is organized –
and make it profitable to enter the market
– Mitigate health and environmental risks from toxic
substances in e-waste, though in China it is driven by the
– Reduce pressure on primary commodities in a world with
• Beware! E-Waste policy creates winners and losers.
2.2 Three Approaches to E-Waste
• Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
– European WEEE Directive
• Consumer Pays
• Mixed Model
2.3 Extended Producer Responsibility
Producers and importers are responsible for their products
European E-waste Directive aimed to:
•Improve product design
•Achieve targets for recovery, reuse and recycling
•Establish collection systems
•New industry created in collection, dismantling & processing of e-waste
•Better design of products to reduce compliance costs
•Progressive targets encourage high and growing collection rates
•Higher product costs born by consumers
2.4 Consumer Pays
Japan: Retailers are responsible for collecting end-of-life products.
But consumers pay at the time of disposal, between $20 - $80
• Strong and achievable targets, including focus on harmful wastes
•Up-front payment by user ensures finances recycling
•Weak producer incentive to improve product design
•Weak monitoring and frequent violations by retailers
•Illegal dumping by consumers to avoid paying the fee
2.5 Mixed Model
The US: No consensus of industry & government on financing,
therefore no federal regulations:
– Patchwork of state regulations, mostly based on limited or full
Extended Producer Responsibility
•Low cost to manufacturers & distributors & space for different
approaches to flourish
•Low and patchy e-waste recycling
•Patchwork of regulations hinders industry development nationally
•No national awareness of e-waste issues
3 What are the challenges for
• Importing & lack of control over producers
• ‘Donations’ and dumping
• Size of economy and e-waste feedstock
• Transport infrastructure
• Informal sector competes for feedstock
• Smelting & processing is highly capital-
• Enforcement, Enforcement, Enforcement
4.1 What are other emerging
• Some emerging economies are going for ‘first-
– South Africa
• Still working on draft law to:
– Introduce extended producer responsibility
– Define and include stakeholders
– Ban the import of used electrical and electronic
equipment for charity in the country.
– Formalize the very large informal sector
4.3 South Africa
• 2009 Waste Act makes manufacturers and
importers must define an Industrial Waste
Management Plan (IWMP) before they can sell
products in South Africa
• Producers and importers gathered in the e-Waste
Association of South Africa (eWASA) to
implement their IWMP
• Consumer Protection Act forces retailers to
accept take-back from consumers buying a new
5.1 How to get started!
Objective: whichever approach is chosen, the
national strategy should aim to:
•Set out roles and responsibilities among e-
•Definition implementation mechanisms and
institutional support, as well as enforcement
5.2 Essential Ingredients
National strategy should include:
•Discussion with all stakeholders: producers, importers,
retailers, consumers, refurbishers, recyclers, dismantlers,
scavengers, NGOs, academics, environment & other
•Financial scheme that allocates costs of collection &
•Reasonable and progressive targets to keep the
5.3 Set Targets
Ambitious but achievable targets will:
•Boost political will and stakeholder
•Create action and momentum
•Set government expectations and national
•Establish a performance barometer to analyze
short, medium, and long-term outcomes
It can be done…
6 Online Resources
• UNEP Report ‘RECYCLING – FROM E-WASTE TO
RESOURCES’, July 2009:
• Regional Platform on Personal Computers
Electronic-Waste in Latin America and the
7 Contact us
• Project lead at infoDev:
– Stig Trommer
• Task Manager:
– Maria Farrell