How to End All eWaste

As previously posted it is certain that every one of the six billion mobile phones produced so far will need to be recycled, along with the 2.6 billion radios, two billion TVs and over a billion computers. The list of electrical and electronic equipment in use goes on and on…….

Every country on earth is consuming many millions of items of electrical and electronic equipment but almost none have put in place effective end-of-life solutions. This task is extremely urgent if the environment is to be protected and human health preserved.

Original equiment manufacturers (OEMs) have an ethical duty and social responsibility to deal with the environmental damage caused by their products. Within the European Union OEMs already have a legal liability and financial responsibility to fund re-use and end-of-life recycling for all Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment as dictated by the WEEE Directive of the European Parliament.

Having accepted this legal responsibility within Europe there is no moral defence for not providing the same end-of-life recycling facilities in all other countries where their products are sold inluding in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

This week Computer Aid International, an organisation that I used to be CEO of, published an excellent introductory guide for citizens concerned to move this environmental agenda forward in any country. The PDF version of “How to end all eWaste” is free to download here.

Computer Aid is just completing a project to build the advocacy capacity of civil society in three countries to lobby government to build eWaste recycling facilities with funds from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

In summary the six-point plan to end all eWaste is:

1. Ban the import and export of e-waste.
2. Ban the landfill and other dumping of e-waste.
3. Prioritise reuse over recycling as reuse is 20 times more energy-efficient.
4. Compel e-waste recycling through licensed & inspected operators.
5. Compel OEMs to fund end-of-life e-waste management.
6. Enforce it – monitor enforcement and punish environmental crime.

This is not rocket science. OEMs already fund best practice in Europe. There is no excuse for delaying provision of recycling to the same high standards in North America, Africa and the rest of our fragile planet.


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