International E-waste Day 2022 marks a new deal on e-waste under the Basel Convention

“Recycle it all, no matter how small!” The theme of the International E-waste Day 2022 highlights the importance of recycling even the smallest of e-waste. Observed annually on 14 October, E-waste Day was first introduced in 2018 by the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum in an effort to raise awareness of the need for e-waste recycling among consumers.

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions has been a longtime partner of the WEEE Forum, supporting not only the adoption of the international day, but also collaborating with the Forum through the Partnership for Action on Challenges relating to E-waste (PACE II), a public-private multistakeholder platform that raises awareness of the e-waste pollution issue, assists developing countries with the adoption of policies for the environmentally sound management (ESM) of e-waste, and launches new pilot projects on the ESM of e-wastes in its scope.

The Parties to the Basel Convention placed e-waste at the centre of the Basel Convention agenda during the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15), in June 2022. In the vein of the Plastic Waste Amendments that came into force one year ago, the Parties adopted amendments to annexes II, VIII, and IX of the Basel Convention, which led to the inclusion of all e-waste under the Prior Informed Consent Control Procedure (PIC). As a result, starting from 1 January 2025, all e-waste moved across the international borders of the 190 Basel Convention Parties will be subject to a strict control procedure, and governments will be able to decide if they want to e-waste imports from other countries. The E-waste Amendments will legally bind countries under the Basel Convention to strictly control its transboundary movement and ensure its environmentally sound management[1].

To support Parties with the implementation of the Amendments, the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is launching a new capacity-building and training programme on the transboundary movement of e-waste. The programme will be implemented across all the United Nations regions before the E-waste Amendments are entered into force.

Following the adoption of the E-waste Amendments by COP15, the Basel Convention Parties launched a review of the existing ESM guidance on e-waste to reflect the new listing. This review will also cover the Technical Guidelines on transboundary movements of electrical and electronic waste and used electrical and electronic equipment, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste under the Basel Convention[3].

In addition, the Basel Convention decided to develop two new guidance documents on the ESM of waste from TV screens, audio and video equipment, and on waste from refrigerators, cooling and heating equipment, in the context of the work carried out PACE II.

At COP15, the Parties to the Basel Convention also responded to the call for a new ESM guidance on batteries, which will drive the energy transition to mitigate climate change. The Basel Convention Parties launched the updating of the Technical Guidelines on ESM of waste lead-acid batteries, adopted in 2004, and the development of new technical guidelines on ESM of lithium-ion batteries as well as other batteries. The new technical guidelines are expected to clarify the listing of batteries under the Basel Convention and set a global standard for their recycling and ESM[2].

The Secretariat continues its collaboration with other international organizations in the E-waste Coalition, a coordination platform for international organisations and entities working on e-waste.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat) brings together the three leading multilateral environmental agreements that share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes.
 http://www.brsmeas.org/

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, aims to protect people and the environment from the negative effects of the inappropriate management of hazardous wastes worldwide.
http://www.basel.int/

For more information about the work carried out on e-waste by the BRS Secretariat, contact:
Carla Valle-Klann, BRS Programme Management Officer, carla.valle@un.org
Francesca Cenni, BRS Programme Management Officer, francesca.cenni@un.org
Tatiana Terekhova, BRS Programme Management Officer, tatiana.terekhova@un.org

For media inquiries, contact: Marisofi Giannouli, BRS Associate Public Information Officer, marisofi.giannouli@un.org

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[1] Decision BC-15/18.

[2] Decision BC-15/7.

[3] Decision BC-15/11.