E-Waste / WEEE

According to the ‘Solving the E-Waste Problem’ (StEP) Initiative, "E-waste is a term used to cover almost all types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) that has or could enter the waste stream. Although e-waste is a general term, it can be considered to cover TVs, computers, mobile phones, white goods (e.g. fridges, washing machines, dryers etc), home entertainment and stereo systems, toys, toasters, kettles - almost any household or business item with circuitry or electrical components with power or battery supply".

The e-Stewards Initiative Electronic sees "equipment and gadgets” as the fastest growing waste stream in many countries. Most of these electronics become obsolete or unwanted often within 2-3 years of purchase. “This global mountain of waste is expected to continue growing 8% per year, indefinitely (BCC Research)".

E-Waste contains some very toxic substances such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium and brominated flame retardants, which create halogenated dioxins and furans when burned at low temperatures. The hazardous materials in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) can cause cancer, reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption, and many other health problems if this waste stream is not properly managed.

Solutions to the E-Waste problem have become an important issue in developing countries and emerging economies. Many profitable economies have developed specific policies, legislations and systems to properly manage, recycle or dispose WEEE, which may serve as examples or best practice techniques for the given scenarios. At this stage, extended producer responsibility (EPR) plays a major role in E-Waste management.

On an international level, E-waste is one of the most highly concerned areas for the  Öffnet internen Link im aktuellen FensterBasel Convention and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (Öffnet internen Link im aktuellen FensterSAICM). The  Öffnet internen Link im aktuellen FensterStockholm Convention addresses the topic with regard to the management of poly-brominated diphenylether containing material streams.