Worldwide E-Waste On The Rise, Despite Recycling where possible Factories

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The StEP, (Solving the E-waste Problem, Research No . 1) initiative from the United Nations University (UNU) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) got busy with real earnestness, with the e-waste problem and developed an effective prototype recycling factory, haemorrhoids of e-waste (electronic waste) that were steadily growing around the world, posed a grim, menacing portent to all concerned — environmentalists, governments, the health care industry, electronics manufacturers, teachers and so on (for a detailed conversation on e-waste, read appropriate parts of

Reference No. two or other sources within the web). The cause for their worries was solid. e-waste, which is comprised primarily of deleted computers, mobile phones and their add-ons, is rich in toxic substances/ chemicals – mercury, radium, arsenic & hexavalent chromium to name just a few. Not being agreeable to the waste disposal processes acknowledged before SteP’s solution (pl see Reference No . only two titled “Recycling – Via E-Waste To Resources”, intended for details), they defied the preferred method of being disposed of safely. And, consequently, e-waste kept piling up, unstoppably, around the globe.

The potency of e-waste to cause incapacitating/ extreme health hazards in humans and also irreversible damage to world surroundings had been known for some time. Therefore those in the world that were mindful, cheered up when SteP’s prototype factory saw the sunshine of day! The original had been proven by running small, and pilot factories successfully and may even be easily adapted to suit virtually any world location. So, watchers may have imagined that the ending of the e-waste crisis has been near since all that seemingly remained was the implementation of SteP’s solution on a mass, all over the world and as quickly as you possibly can!

So far, so good! However, for the huge disappointment of an expecting world, implementation projects, bogged down by a set of nontechnical issues, are struggling both to take off or to help to make any significant progress. The important issues thwarting progress are usually: advocacy, institutionalisation, legislation and also sustainability. And while stakeholders want to clear these roadblocks, time is being wasted. The result? Not merely has e-waste growth certainly not been contained by the variety of recycling factories setup, although according to figures available with Move, (using 2013 as a basic year), e-waste will raise and reach 133% it has the 2013 volume by 2017.

I will attempt to briefly reveal the bottlenecks mentioned above previous to closing.


In many places, government & the general public are not sufficiently aware of often the severity or degree of the e-waste problem. (Had sufficient people been knowledgeable, there would have been a public outcry for remedial action, everywhere you go, by now! ). Hundreds and thousands of considerably more people in every nation ought to be made aware of the problem speedily, and those that already know ought to be reminded.

Governments, preoccupied with using home tasks, often forget the e-waste problem. Environmentally friendly agencies, NGOs, local communities and citizens need to be reminded frequently about what is at the pole. Governments also need to be told periodically that their reactions to the e-waste problem in the earlier have NOT been adequate. They should drop complacency and get all set to tackle e-waste in a huge way, immediately, before obtainable time runs out as well as the e-waste problem turns into an emergency.


According to obtainable data, global e-waste these recycling is mostly carried out by the unorganized, informal sector in Parts of Asia. This has resulted in poor recycling performance. The lack of established, common processes has led to a useless diversity in processing strategies, ad-hoc processes, machines, equipment used etc. An adequate variety of skilled/ trained staff is generally not easy to find. There is no guarantee that appropriate safety measures are practised or perhaps that outputs of recycling(*) are checked to ensure that levels of leftover toxic substances are under approved limits. The result is any frittering away of the electricity would have been available when one resorted to structured recycling – inability to be able to upscale/

down-scale rapidly, apply workplace safety, ensure ‘green’ & efficient processes, establishments of scale, monitoring along with control activities, quality connected with processes & outputs and so forth, Therefore, the ownership of the recycling sector needs to grow to be the hands of a bigger entity – one that has the strength to unify, standardize, produce plans, provide infrastructure along with resources, technical support, find/ exercise skilled workers, enforce standards/ quality etc . easily.

The one suitable candidate for a real position is the government, in the majority of countries. Governments need to take the property of the recycling sector, in addition, to scaling it up to the measurement required to effectively take on often the e-waste problem in their own countries speedily.


Even though the accumulated world backlog has been cleared, e-waste will still be generated, in sufficiently vast amounts to form a regular mode of waste (according to to help UNU, the world average, per-capita e-waste generation for 2014 was 7 Kg, universe population being 7 tera- and; this will rise, inside foreseeable future). Thus, often the a continuous, long-term requirement for e-waste recycling facilities. And, by means of consequence, just like any other segment of an established industry, e-waste recycling needs to be institutionalised as a possible independent industry sector, in its own right, enjoying the identical privileges as others viz. various sectors under the “manufacturing industry” category, VARs (value-added resellers), OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and so on.

In addition, it follows, quite naturally, that will to become an independent industry, a formal institutional and legitimate framework must be created to help it.


Sustainability regarding recycling factories requires they generate profits from their operations. This specific, in turn, means that a certain bare minimum volume of input e-waste has to be guaranteed to each factory and also outputs of recycling(*) locate markets where they can be marketed to generate adequate profits.

The actual above mentioned is a list of the most typical in addition to important stoppers encountered at this point. However, StEP advises end users not to blindly adopt these kinds of factors as they are. Each land must also take into account its certain environment, conditions, laws, insurance policies etc . as part of the adaptation workout in order to effectively identify/equip the roadblocks specific in their eyes.

(*) The term “output regarding recycling” has been used as opposed to “product” since the recycling market is still in stage infancy. Once these components are perfected to match insight requirements of upstream industry(ies) where they will be used, have got industry-recognized descriptions and also specifications etc . they would meet the criteria to be named as “products”.


1 . United Nations College or university (UNU), Home – Phase 2014, “Solving the e-waste problem.

2 . Schluep Meters, Hagelueken C, Kuehr L, et al., “Recycling: From E-Waste To Resources”, Copyright © United Nations Surroundings Programme & United Nations College or university (Paris: Empa, Umicore and also UNU, 2009). (Download website link (cut+paste required): UNEP. org/pdf/pressreleases/E-waste_publication_screen_finalversion-sml. pdf)

The author is an Indie Information Technology (IT) consultant, positioned in Bangalore, India ( Click the link to view his profile ). His interests include Technological innovation, Writing, Reading, Math and also Music. One of his major sources of technology information will be the IEEE, where he is at the moment a Senior Member.

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