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Information on E-Waste PDF Print E-mail

This page has various resources on e-waste gathered from the Web. ( All links open in a new window)

Drowning in Elctronics, Where the Law Stands on E-Waste by Jackie Bennion

Following The Trail Of Toxic E-Waste - 60 Minutes Follows America's Toxic Electronic Waste As It Is Illegally Shipped To Become China's Dirty Secret

In Canada, harmonizing e-waste management

Legislation and Policy

1. The Basel Convention
The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive global environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes. The Convention has 172 Parties and aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects resulting from the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes. The Basel Convention came into force in 1992.

A list of parties to the Basel Convention

 

 

2. WEEE Directive
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) is the European Community directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) which, together with the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC, became European Law in February 2003, setting collection, recycling and recovery targets for all types of electrical goods.

The directive imposes the responsibility for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment on the manufacturers of such equipment. Those companies should establish an infrastructure for collecting WEEE, in such a way that "Users of electrical and electronic equipment from private households should have the possibility of returning WEEE at least free of charge". Also, the companies are compelled to use the collected waste in an ecologically-friendly manner, either by ecological disposal or by reuse/refurbishment of the collected WEEE.

The WEEE Directive obliged the twenty-five EU member states to transpose its provisions into national law by 13 August 2004. Only Cyprus met this deadline. On 13 August 2005, one year after the deadline, all member states except for Malta and the UK had transposed at least framework regulations. As the national transposition of the WEEE Directive varies between the member states, a patchwork of requirements and compliance solutions is emerging across Europe.

In a bid to emphasise the importance of this directive, in April 2005 the Royal Society of Arts in the UK (in conjunction with Canon) unveiled a 7 metre tall sculpture entitled 'WEEE Man' on London's South Bank, made from 3.3 tonnes of electrical goods - the average amount of electrical waste one UK individual creates in a lifetime. The giant figure was subsequently moved to the Eden Project in Cornwall as part of a UK tour.

 

Inititaives
StEP
An initiative of various UN organizations with the overall aim to solve the e-waste problem. Together with prominent members from industry, governments, international organizations, NGOs and the science sector actively participating in StEP, we initiate and facilitate approaches towards the sustainable handling of e-waste. In five Task Forces feasible, just and environmentally safe solutions for the e-waste problem are developed through analysis, planning and pilot projects.

StEP Objectives
1. Optimizing the life cycle of electric and electronic equipment by
a) improving supply chains
b) closing material loops
c) reducing contamination
2. Increasing utilization of resources and reuse of equipment
3. Exercising concern about disparities such as the digital divide between the industrializing and industrialized countries
4. Increasing public, scientific and business knowledge

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