Cleaning Up Electronic Waste (E-Waste)
EPA collaborates with the United Nations University - Solving the E-waste Problem Initiative (UNU-Step) Exit to jointly address the e-waste problem in developing countries. EPA and UNU signed a cooperative agreement to work on this topic in November 2010. EPA and UNU-StEP are working collaboratively on tracking global flows of e-waste. EPA is a founding member of the UNU-StEP initiative and serves on the UNU-StEP Steering Committee.
EPA also works bilaterally with governments and environmental officials around the world on e-waste management. EPA and Environmental Protection Administration Taiwan (EPAT) coordinate the International E-Waste Management Network (IEMN), which has brought together environmental officials from Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and North America to exchange best practices on e-waste management since 2011.
October 2016: The 6th annual meeting of the International E-waste Management Network (IEMN) was co-hosted by US EPA, Taiwan EPA and Malaysia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The “Practical Advancements in E-waste” workshop was attended by over 40 participants from 12 countries. Technical experts from both the public and private sectors and technical institutes shared information and experiences with IEMN members to help them advance e-waste management in their countries.
October 2016: The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) released a report, “Quantitative Characterization of Domestic and Transboundary Flows of Used Electronics Products” Exit detailing trade flows of used electronics from and within North America.
Understanding the Problem
Building Capacity in Developing Countries and Sharing Best Practices
Managing the e-waste created by an increasing amount of computer and telecommunication equipment is important to the Ethiopian government, and many international partners have worked in Ethiopia to help address this concern.
In 2010, EPA provided funds to the United Nations University (UNU) to assess e-waste in Ethiopia. The assessment was carried out by Germany’s Oeko Institute. Based on the results, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) invested $1 million in a project to strengthen Ethiopia’s capacity to manage e-waste. This was the GEF’s first investment on the e-waste issue. The EPA and GEF projects build upon a previous World Bank-funded initiative aimed at enhancing Ethiopia’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
Through this multiyear effort, EPA, UNU-Solving the E-waste Problem (Step) and the GEF assessed the state of e-waste in Ethiopia, studied national and international downstream markets for certain e-waste components, and identified financing models for sound e-waste management in Ethiopia. The project also strengthened the capacity of a demanufacturing facility to process e-waste in Addis Ababa.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) was the overall manager of the GEF project, with UNU-Step’s Initiative team serving as the technical experts. EPA served as an international advisor to an Ethiopian working group on e-waste management during the course of this work. The project ended in late 2016.
These efforts developed the following publications:
The following links exit the site Exit
- Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Green Paper: E-waste Country Study Ethiopia (PDF) (46 pp, 1.85M, About PDF)
- National and International Downstream Markets for DMF E-waste Dismantling Fractions – Metals, Printed Circuit Boards and Plastics: E-Waste Management Project in Ethiopia (PDF) (84 pp, 2.67M, About PDF)
- Financing Models for Sound E-waste Management in Ethiopia (PDF) (99 pp, 2.48M, About PDF)
International E-Waste Management Network:
The International E-Waste Management Network (IEMN) is a network of government officials that come together annually to exchange best practices and learn from experts how to improve management of used electronics in their own countries. US EPA and the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (EPAT) support this effort through a cooperative agreement.
The IEMN began in 2011 and held its 6th annual workshop in October 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Officials from the governments of Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America were present to learn and share about new tools and approaches to e-waste management.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2670R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460