Standards for Collection, Storage, Transport, Recovery, Treatment and Disposal to Ensure Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste

Ver. 1, March 2013

Global sales of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) have been rising significantly over the last few years. The rapid uptake of information technology around the world, coupled with frequent design and technology updates in the EEE manufacturing sector is causing the early obsolescence of many of these EEEs, resulting in a rise in electrical and electronic waste (e-waste). The annual amount of global waste generated is estimated at 20–50 million tonnes, most of which derives from Asia. There are thus growing concerns that most of the e-waste generated in developed countries ends up in economically-challenged developing countries that lack the infrastructure for dealing with it properly. Specifically, the absence of environmentally sound management (ESM) of e-waste in such countries results in adverse socio-economic, public health and environmental impacts from the toxins in e-waste. E-waste contains a number of toxic metals as well as valuable and scarce resources, thus must be handled in specific ways in order to avoid possible public health and environmental concerns. High quality end-of-life (EoL) standards incorporating collection, storage, transport, recovery, treatment and disposal of e-waste could contribute significantly towards ESM of e-waste, thereby protecting the environment and the health and safety of populations, as well as saving valuable EEE resources.

Sunil Herat