Don’t Let it Go to Waste

The term “electronic and electrical waste (e-waste)” refers to discarded electronic or electrical devices.

E-waste can contain precious metals like gold, copper and nickel, as well as rare materials like indium and palladium. According to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the presence of toxic materials, such as mercury, lead or brominated flame retardants, justify classifying e-waste as “hazardous”.

Rapid changes in the expansion of technology, and increase in the consumption of technological products have led to the accumulation of very large amounts of e-waste. Informal processing of e-waste can negatively impact on the health of the people who process it and on the environment.

E-waste is the fastest growing hazardous waste stream. Fifty-three million metric tonnes of e-waste are currently generated worldwide every year, a number that is expected to reach 74 million metric tonnes by 2030.

To make matters worse, we don’t know what happens to the majority of e-waste. Only 17% is accounted for, collected and recycled.

During the face-to-face segment of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (6-17 June 2022), a series of amendments were adopted to Annexes II, VIII and IX of the Convention. These E-waste Amendments aim to expand and strengthen the control of transboundary movements of e-waste by rendering them subject to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure.

The Don’t Let it Go to Waste campaign aims at

  • raising awareness of the e-waste issue and the E-waste Amendments, among the general public; and
  • promoting activities that support the Basel Convention Parties to be better prepared for the implementation of the E-waste Amendments.