Helping generating strong and measurable economic benefits through the recovery of base, precious and critical raw materials for Europe and Africa is one of EWIT’s most relevant medium term expected impacts. The project partners also wish to take into account the environmental and health protection benefits achievable through the new recycling systems activated with the support of the EWIT E-waste implementation toolkit.
Increasing the rate of E-Waste heading for appropriate collection and treatment in Africa from 10% to 30% will lead to an estimated additional amount of about 1 million tons of end of life electronics products available for good recycling, releasing a potential economic value of almost 300 Million Euro (note: the average market value of E-Waste is currently estimated at 300 Euro per ton).
Workshop 2 Technology in Vienna (Austria) gathered selected African and European experts and focused on (sometimes very basic) processing technologies for obsolete electronics and electric equipment. Based on the state-of-the-art in each of the 4 African cities/counties proper treatment/recycling technologies with a specific focus on environmental protection, saving critical resources and creating jobs in the region, have been proposed. These specific technological solutions have been complemented with suggestions for appropriate tools and indicators for policy makers as well operative tips for entrepreneurs.
- Small IT and telecommunication equipment (no external dimension more than 50 cm)
- Small equipment
- Large equipment
- Temperature exchange equipment
- Screens, monitors and equipment containing screens having a surface greater than 100 cm2
A lot can be achieved already with “simple” manual dismantling of most obsolete products. Training of workers on environmental, health and safety issues as well as the entrepreneur on proper management is essential to enable an eco-efficient operation.
Some products contain components and/or substances of concern (e.g. halogenated refrigerants in fridges, mercury in lamp powders, BFR in plastics, …) that need special attention. More sophisticated technologies are available, but they need certain minimum volumes to make the necessary investments viable. In the interim, until the required volumes are collected to justify investing into those sophisticated technologies, mobile treatment plants can be utilised or waste can be treated in regional specialized hubs if the necessary transborder movement of wastes is facilitated. Especially those substances of concern make it necessary to establish a sustainable financing system to enable long-term investments of the private sector in technologies.
Furthermore hints on potential cooperation areas and shared solutions on a transnational level have been given and a step-by-step guide to support policy makers in establishing a sustainable E-Waste solution has been elaborated.