UN entities demand nations to address e-waste challenges

By Editor


Seven UN entities, supported by the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) have demanded an overhaul of the electronics system to address e-waste challenges.

Each year, approximately 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) — worth 62.5 billion dollars — are discarded.

Less than 20 percent of this is recycled formally. China has over 600,000 people working to dispose of e-waste. Nigeria has around 100,000 people working in the informal e-waste sector, according to the International Labour Organization.

The report, “A New Circular Vision for Electronics – Time for a Global Reboot,” launched in Davos 24 January, says technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), support gradual “dematerialization” of the electronics industry.

Use of technology to create service business models, product tracking and manufacturer or retailer take-back programs will be able to capture the global value of materials in the e-waste and create global circular value chains.

Material efficiency, recycling infrastructure and increase in the volume and quality of recycled materials will meet the needs of electronics supply chains.

E-waste Coalition includes: 

International Labour Organization (ILO)

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)

United Nations University (UNU)

Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions (BRS)

Nigerian Government, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UN Environment announced a $2 million investment to kick off the e-waste recycling industry in Nigeria. The new investment will leverage over $13 million in additional financing from the private sector.

In the Latin American and Caribbean region, a UNIDO e-waste project, co-funded by GEF, seeks to support sustainable economic and social growth in 13 countries.

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