Here you will find information on studies and initiatives with a global focus. Where there are country specific projects, the text “Click to see information” will be visible.
|Documents including WEEE flows/quantities
|The need for design-for-recycling of paper-based printed electronics – a prospective comparison with printed circuit boards
|Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2023: The present study compares conventional printed circuit boards (having glass-fibre and epoxy substrates and etched copper circuits) with paper-based printed electronics (offering flexible, bio-based, and biodegradable substrates with circuit design printed using silver-based inks) through a a comparative life cycle assessment and global warming impact calculation. The results underscore that printed electronics offer a consistent sustainability advantage over printed circuit boards only through recycling of silver in the former at the end-of-life. Hence, design-for-recycling and recycling as e-waste are crucial to the sustainability of the current generation of printed electronics.
Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Volume 189.
Author(s): Akshat Sudheshwar; Nadia Malinverno; Roland Hischier; Bernd Nowack; Claudia Som.
|Good design practices in preparation for end-of-life
|Ecosystem, 2023: Good design practices sheets that summarise, by equipment category, the generic concepts to be considered when developing an ecodesigned product.
|A Circular Economy Approach: Making sustainability profitable. A case study
|Sims Lifecycle Services, 2023: Hewlett-Packard and Sims Lifecycle Services have worked together to demonstrate how a recycling partnership can deliver value and result in sustainable material reuse and remanufacturing.
|Sustainable waste electrical and electronic equipment management guide in emerging economies context: A structural model approach
|Journal of Cleaner Production, 2022: The present study considers multi-stakeholder's perspective to identify enablers of sustainable WEEE management in an emerging economy, i.e., India. We identified 23 potential enablers through literature review and discussion with domain experts. Research and development capabilities and digitisation, extended producer responsibility, monitoring of illegal import and dumping, environmental regulations and WEEE policies, and use of cleaner recycling technologies were recognised as the most significant causal enablers.
Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 336, 130391.
Author(s): Ashwani Kumar, Diptanshu Gaur, Yang Liu, Dheeraj Sharma.
|Design for Recycling - Guidelines for Increased Recycling Efficiency and Recovery Rate of Materials
|KTH Industrial Engineering and Management Machine Design, 2022: Master thesis to develop design guidelines for Ericsson's products with a focus on the product end of life and the recycling phase. This has been done through the evaluation of design for recycling guidelines from the literature and interviews with recycling experts. Finally, a product evaluation has been performed for 3 products to identify areas for improvement in the areas of Material and material combinations, Fasteners and connectors, and Labels and markings.
Master of Science Thesis TRITA-ITM-EX 2022:330.
Author(s): Linn Thureborn; Emma Yvell.
|Strategic Report: The Nexus between Organized Crime and Pollution Crime
|INTERPOL, 2022: This report analyses the convergence between certain organized crime activities and pollution crime, with the objective to support law enforcement agencies to improve their response to such criminal activities. 19 INTERPOL member countries from every region of the world contributed to this report through their cases and expertise.
|Global Transboundary E-waste Flows Monitor - 2022
|UNITAR, 2022: This study categorizes transboundary movement of e-waste into controlled and uncontrolled movements and also considers both the receiving and sending regions to better understand the implication of transboundary movement. It quantified that 5.1 Mt (just below 10 percent of the total amount of global e-waste, 53.6 Mt) crossed country borders in 2019, being 1.8 Mt shipped in a controlled manner, and 3.3 Mt in an uncontrolled manner.
Author(s): C.P. Baldé, E. D’Angelo, V. Luda O. Deubzer, and R. Kuehr.
|Global and complementary actions for electronics extended producer responsibility
|ITU, StEP and the WEEE Forum, 2022: The thought paper presents complementary solutions and concepts to propel e-waste collection rates in line with EPR-based regulation, whilst also delving into the perceived need for an international regime around EPR to assist with harmonization efforts.
A thought paper for International E-Waste Day 2022
|Practical Experiences with the Basel Convention: Challenges, Good Practice and Ways to Improve Transboundary Movements of E-Waste in Low and Middle Income countries
|PREVENT and StEP, 2022: This paper aims to gather practical experiences with the export of waste electrical and electronic equipment and fractions thereof from low and middle income countries to environmentally sound management facilities abroad according to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) notification procedures of the Basel Convention.
|A review of the recent development, challenges, and opportunities of electronic waste (e-waste)
|International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 2022: This study reviews recent developments, challenges, and the prospect of electronic waste (e-waste). It is found that Europe is the leading collector of e-waste, followed by Asia, America, Oceania, and Africa. The monetary worth of e-waste raw materials is estimated to be $57.0 billion. Only 78 countries in the world now have e-waste related legislation, although it is not effectively implemented in most regions.
Author(s): Shahabuddin, M.; Uddin, M.N.; Chowdhury, J.I. et al.
International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 20, pages 4513–4520 (2023)
|The Circularity Gap Report 2022
|World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 2022: This Circularity Gap Report 2022 will demonstrate—based on five years of analysis and learnings—how the circular economy is a means to cut resource-use and emissions and boost equitable societies.
|Detection and recognition of batteries on X-Ray images of waste electrical and electronic equipment using deep learning
|Resources, Conservation and Recycling Journal, 2021: The research investigates the potential to facilitate the development of novel techniques for battery extraction and sorting by examining the technical feasibility of predicting the presence, location, and type of batteries with a deep learning object detection network using X-Ray images of the internal structure of WEEE.
Resources, Conservation and Recycling 2021, Volume 168.
Author(s): Wouter Sterkens; Dillam Diaz-Romero; Toon Goedemé; Wim Dewulf; Jef R. Peeters.
Availability upon payment.
|Design for and from recycling
|PolyCE project, 2021: This guidelines are developed to help designers and engineers to integrate life cycle thinking in the design of electronic devices. It focuses on circular plastics design and explain how to design plastic housings and inner parts in a circular manner. These guidelines are based on the results of the PolyCE project executed between 2017 - 2020 and reflect the status at this moment in time.
|A circular economy business model innovation process for the electrical and electronic equipment sector
|Journal of Cleaner Production, 2021: The report explores circular economy business model (CEBM), co-creates a CEBM Innovation Process Framework with sector stakeholders, identifies challenges, opportunities and policy influencing the innovation process, develops circularity indicators proposed for the electrical and electronics equipment sector and guides for electrical and electronics equipment manufacturers.
Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 305, 2021, 127211.
Author(s): Jennifer Pollard; Mohamed Osmani; Christine Cole; Suzana Grubnic; James Colwill
|Treat, Dump, or Export? How Domestic and International Waste Management Policies Shape Waste Chain Outcomes
|SSRN, 2021: The study analyzes the effects of domestic and international waste regulations targeting dumping and export, respectively, on firm incentives and compliance. The analysis reveals that primarily focusing on penalizing dumping by treatment operators can worsen waste chain outcomes. Solely focusing on penalizing low-quality waste exports, a common intervention in practice, can also backfire.
Author(s): Wijnsma, Sytske; Lauga, Dominique Olie; Toktay, L. Beril.
|Modulated fees for Extended Producer Responsibility schemes (EPR)
|OECD, 2021: The paper defines a classification for fee modulation (by criteria and methodology) and discusses potential issues and considerations. Advanced fee modulation, using criteria beyond weight or product type, offers many opportunities, but adds complexity to EPR schemes. The paper concludes with key policy insights that can further stimulate this emerging policy approach.
Environment Working Papers No. 184
Author(s): Frithjof Laubinger; Andrew Brown; Maarten Dubois; Peter Börkey.
|International e-Waste Management Practice |Country Factsheets from Twelve Jurisdictions
|SRI, 2021: This report provides a summary overview of the e-waste management practices and related legal systems for a total of twelve countries from around the globe (Switzerland, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, France, Japan, China, Singapore, Ghana, Germany, India, Ireland, Belgium, Australia). These countries were chosen to showcase examples of different types of e-waste management systems and mechanisms from across the world.
Author(s): Deepali Sinha Khetriwal; Grishma Jain.
|Recommendations for tackling fires caused by lithium batteries in WEEE- A report of the Batteries Roundtable.
|WEEE Forum et al., 2021: WEEE Forum, EuRIC, EUCOBAT, EERA, MWE and the WEEEires caused by lithium batteries and e-waste containing lithium batteries. A new report compiles good practices addressed to all actors in the value chain and covering all phases of products’ lifecycle.
Author(s): Herreras-Martínez, L.; Anta, M.; Bountis, R.
|The Circularity Gap Report 2021
|World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 2021: The fourth edition of the Circularity Gap Report quantifies the huge synergisLABEX Organisation join forces to counter the occurrence of ftic and transformational power the circular economy holds for the climate mitigation agenda—just in time for this year’s crunch UN summit that will pave our future climate pathways.
|The Circularity Gap Report 2020
|World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), 2020: The third edition of the Circularity Gap Report aims to contribute to the emerging evidence base that supports decision-makers in business, politics and civil society with key insights and metrics to guide their action in the most impactful way. From 2020, the Circularity Gap Reporting initiative (CGRi) will also explore how data to inform stakeholder decision-making can best be collected, consolidated and made available globally.
|Internet Waste: A thought paper for International E-Waste Day 2020
|ITU and the WEEE Forum, 2020: This thought paper focuses on WEEE derived from wireless infrastructure for mobile Internet connectivity, connected devices and data storage, with examples from mobile networks, the IoT and data centres. It aims to raise awareness about waste from infrastructure that supports connectivity and the need for sustainable WEEE management practices in data centres and the telecommunication industries. The paper also highlights the role of international standards in facilitating the responsible management of WEEE and provides examples of how these standards have been helping countries and the ICT sector minimize WEEE impacts.
|The Global E-waste Monitor 2020: Quantities, flows, and the circular economy potential
|UNU/UNITAR, ITU and ISWA, 2020: The Global E-waste Monitor 2020 introduces the wider public to the global e-waste challenge, explains how the challenge currently fits into international efforts to reach the SDGs, and discusses how to create a circular economy and sustainable societies. In parallel, we encourage decision-makers to increase their activities to measure and monitor e-waste by using and adopting the internationally recognised methodological framework developed by UNU-SCYCLE, in collaboration with the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.
Author(s): Forti V.; Baldé C.P.; Kuehr R.; Bel G.
|Handbook of Electronic Waste Management: International Best Practices and Case Studies
|Elsevier, 2020: This book offers a detailed presentation of e-waste handling methods that also includes examples to further demonstrate how they work in the real world. This is followed by data that reveals the geographies of e-waste flows at global, national and subnational levels. Presentation of e-waste estimation methods that also addresses both the handling of e-waste and their hazardous effect on the surrounding environment.
Case studies: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Latin America, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Romania, Australia, United States.
Availability upon payment.
|Case Studies and approaches to building partnerships between the informal and the formal sector for sustainable e-waste management
|StEP Iniative, 2020: This paper is the result of a review of existing e-waste current informal-formal partnerships models in different countries across the world. The information gathered is based on practical experience, secondary literature research as well as case studies obtained through a survey with Producer Responsibility Organizations and other initiatives. The partnership concept in this document aims to support the achievement of high recycling rates and legislative requirements, under extended producer responsibility (EPR) or other take-back systems in low and middle-income countries.
|Survey results from the WEEE management chain – part A, a WEEE Forum and EuRIC report
|WEEE Forum et al., 2020: Report presenting the results of the first part of a survey designed at EU scale to better understand the issue of fires in the WEEE management chain and collect good practices. Prepared by EuRIC and the WEEE Forum with the active contribution of various organisations namely EERA, EUCOBAT, Municipal Waste Europe, ecosystem, and the WEEELABEX Organisation, the report tries to better characterize fires associated with WEEE containing batteries and assess the severity of the issue.
Author(s): Ollion, L.; Anta, M.; Herreras, L.
|Future E-Waste Scenarios
|StEP, UNU ViE-SCYCLE and UNEP IETC, 2019: This joint publication makes an attempt to look into the future of the e-waste problem in order to initiate policy level discussions on the challenges and opportunities ahead. The paper maps serveral dimensions and provides a snapshopt into future challenges. It looks into what can be anticipated in terms of the use of e-products and how the management of e-waste could evolve.
Author(s): Parajuly, K.; Kuehr, R.;Awasthi, A. K.; Fitzpatrick, C.; Lepawsky, J.; Smith E.; Widmer, R.; Zeng, X.
|A New Circular Vision for Electronics - Time for a Global Reboot
|PACE - Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, 2019: This report combines data and research from throughout the UN system to make the case for a new vision. Describing and analysing challenges and opportunities, and laying the groundwork for the process of systemic change is just the first step.
|Understanding Consumer E-Waste Recycling Behavior: Introducing a New Economic Incentive to Increase the Collection Rates
|Sustainability Journal, 2019: This study explores the incentives that have been used to increase consumer collection rates for end-of life electrical and electronic equipment. Based on extensive global literature reviews, the research suggests that implementing an economic incentive based on the electronic bonus card system (EBCS) has several beneﬁts compared to existing incentives.
Sustainability Journal 2019, 11, 265.
Author(s): Tetiana Shevchenko; Kirsi Laitala; Yuriy Danko.
|Processing of WEEE plastics | A practical handbook
|SRI, 2019: The purpose of this document is to provide practical information on how to recognize, process and market different WEEE plastics. It is specially oriented towards recycling companies in developing and emerging economies, where the potential for investments in advanced technologies is usually very limited.
Author(s): Andreas Bill; Arthur Haarman; Heinz Böni; Michael Gasser.
|Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and the Impact of Online Sales
|OECD, 2019: Extended producer responsibility or product stewardship is a policy approach that aims to increase waste recovery and recycling. This report focuses on free-riding of producers or retailers, which the fast expansion of online sales in recent years has been exacerbating. Online sales are creating new free-riding opportunities as consumers are able to buy more easily from sellers in other countries. These sellers often have no physical, legal entity in the country where the consumer resides, and are not registered with national or local EPR schemes.
OECD Environment Working Papers, No. 142, OECD Publishing, Paris
Author(s): Hilton, M.; Sherrington, C.; McCarthy, A.; and Börkey, P.
|Urban Mining of E-Waste is Becoming More Cost-Effective Than Virgin Mining
|Environmental Science and Technology, 2018: This report demonstrates, using real cost data from e-waste processors in China, that pure copper and gold ingots could be recovered from e-waste streams at costs that are comparable to those encountered in virgin mining of ores. The results are confined to recycled TV sets, but it indicates a trend and potential if applied across a broader range of e-waste sources and metals.
Author(s): Xianlai Zeng; John A. Mathews; and Jinhui Li.
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018, 52, 8, 4835–4841
|Circular consumer electronics: an initial exploration
|Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2018: This paper provides reflections on what a circular economy approach could look like for the consumer electronics industry. Built on insights from over 40 interviews with leading companies and researchers, the work is based on research supported by Google and undertaken by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2017. The paper focuses on smartphones, laptops, tablets, and smart home devices. It represents a first attempt at a vision for how electronics could fit within a circular economy, and actions by the industry to accelerate the transition.
|WEEE management in a circular economy perspective: an overview
|Global NEST Journal, 2018: The present work discusses both the current needs and the main challenges regarding WEEE management in a circular economy perspective. WEEE generation trend and composition is provided and the legislative framework for its handling is overviewed to point out future perspectives.
Global NEST Journal, Vol 20, No 4, pp 743-750.
Author(s): Cesaro A.; Marra A.; Kuchta K.; Belgıorno V.; Van Hullebusch E.D.
|Assessment and Exploitation of the Inherent Value of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) for Circular Economy
|Swansea University, 2018: This thesis examines the value of WEEE, and methods for its exploitation to the benefit of global sustainability. The ‘WEEE problem’ is examined in the context of global sustainability, considering environmental & resource efficiency implications and linear resources use by the electrical & electronic equipment (EEE) industry. Solutions are considered which exploit WEEE as an ‘urban mine’ and embrace circular economy.
Author(s): Rhys G. Charles.
|E-waste statistics - Guidelines on classification reporting and indicators. 2nd edition
|United Nations University, ViE – SCYCLE, 2018: The guidelines have been developed to support countries in their efforts to collect and disseminate information on e-waste statistics, based on internationally approved definitions and standards. The guidelines also give methods, country examples, and information to an open source script that helps countries to make their own estimates if no data is available. In addition to the full measuring framework, minimum requirements are proposed to collect and report on e-waste statistics for countries that are embarking on this type of data gathering for the first time.
Russian version available
Author(s): Forti V.; Baldé C.P.; Kuehr R.
|The Global E-waste Monitor 2017
Quantities, Flows, and Resources
|UNU, ITU and ISWA, 2017: This 2017 edition of the Global E-waste Monitor informs policy makers, industries, and businesses to enhance the understanding and interpretation of global e-waste data, thus communicating the data to the general public and relevant stakeholders. This report provides the most comprehensive overview of global e-waste statistics.
Author(s): Baldé, C.P.; Forti V.; Gray, V.; Kuehr, R.; Stegmann, P.
|Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE): A closer look at photovoltaic panels
|GeoConference SGEM, 2017: Despite differences in design, basic technology and used components in PV panels, standard recycling procedures can be applied to those components that account for the major share of the panel mass (glass, aluminum, polymers, electronics). However, PV panels also contain precious materials such as indium, gallium, tellurium, silver, which warrant increased efforts to implement advanced PV recycling processes aiming at recuperation of low concentrated constituents. At the same time, in particular when managing thin-film PV panels, hazardous components (cadmium, heavy metals) require specific attention.
Author(s): Kusch-Brandt, Sigrid; Alsheyab, Mohammad.
SGEM2017 Conference Proceedings (17th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference SGEM 2017), Vol. 17, Issue 41
|Operation 30 Days of Action Final Report
|INTERPOL Environmental Security Programme (ENS) and Pollution Crime Working Group (PCWG), 2017: Final report of the Operation 30 Days of Action, a globally-coordinated, country-led enforcement operation tackling illegal disposal of and illicit trade in hazardous waste. With police, customs, border and environmental agencies from 43 countries worldwide, the Operation 30 Days of Action is the largest global law enforcement operation ever conducted against waste crimes, in terms of scope, international participation and outcomes.
|Operation 30 Days of Action Key Findings
|INTERPOL Environmental Security Programme (ENS) and Pollution Crime Working Group (PCWG), 2017: This report summarises the Key findings of the Operation 30 Days of Action, a globally-coordinated, country-led enforcement operation tackling illegal disposal of and illicit trade in hazardous waste. With police, customs, border and environmental agencies from 43 countries worldwide, the Operation 30 Days of Action is the largest global law enforcement operation ever conducted against waste crimes, in terms of scope, international participation and outcomes.
|2017 Illicit trade report
|World Custom Organisation (WCO), 2017: An annual publication in which the Organization tries to quantify and map the situation concerning illicit markets in the following six key areas: Cultural Heritage; Drugs; Environment; IPR, Health and Safety; Revenue; and Security. This Report wishes to make a contribution towards building knowledge on illicit trade as well as to provide an overview of the Customs community’s efforts to secure global trade.
|Green economy and the reverse logistics of waste electrical and electronic equipment
|Independent Journal of Management & Production (IJM&P), 2016: The focus of the study is given to the management of WEEE, particularly in the reverse logistics of WEEE as a potential tool for economic growth maintenance condition with sustainability. A diagnosis on the use of reverse logistics of WEEE in the world is also presented based on research conducted in countries on five continents.
Independent Journal of Management & Production, v. 7, n. 1.
Authors: Fernando Marins; Marcus Araujo.
|End-of-Life Management: Solar Photovoltaic Panels
|IRENA and IEA-PVPS, 2016: This report presents the first global projections for future PV panel waste volumes to 2050. It investigates and compares two scenarios for global PV panel waste volumes until 2050: 1) Regular-loss: Assumes a 30-year lifetime for solar panels, with no early attrition; 2) Early-loss: Takes account of “infant”, “mid-life” and “wear-out” failures before the 30-year lifespan.
|Guiding Principles to Develop E-waste Management Systems and Legislation
|StEP Initiative-UNU, White Paper, 2016: The following guiding principles resulted from the compilation of a SWOT analysis of 13 existing e-waste management systems and pieces of legislation enacted in various regions of the world and are intended to provide guidance to all stakeholders in developing countries developing solutions for e-waste management.
|Methodological Guide for the development of inventories of hazardous wastes and other wastes under the Basel Convention
|Basel Convention, 2016: The main objective of the guide is to assist parties where no statistical data are collected for the purpose of fulfilling their reporting obligations under the Basel Convention, as regards national inventories of hazardous wastes and other wastes. This guide focuses on the actions required to develop national information systems that produce the information needed to fulfill national reporting obligations.
|Strategic Report: Environment, Peace and Security – A Convergence of Threats
|INTERPOL&UNEP, 2016: This report summarizes some of the key areas in which INTERPOL and UN Environment are developing their strategies and activities to counter environmental crime – a collective term describing any illegal activity carried out by a criminal entity to generate profits, which results in harm to our ecosystem, by damaging environmental quality, hastening biodiversity loss, and depleting natural resources.
|Extended Producer Responsibility - Updated guidance for efficient resource management
|OECD, 2016: In its first part the report provides updated Guidance on Extended Producer Responsibilities (EPRs) building on the 2001 Manual and in view of the developments and lessons learnt since then. In the second part, the report brings together four selected challenges within EPR and examines them in greater detail.
|Dismantling Guide for IT - Equipment
|Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI), 2015: The present guidebook describes and illustrates how IT appliances can be recycled through manual dismantling. It contains required tools, required steps for dismantling of the selected IT-appliances and output fractions produced.
Author(s): Mathias Schluep; Markus Spitzbart; Fabian Blaser.
|Some pervasive challenges to sustainability by design of electronic products – a conceptual discussion
|Journal of Cleaner Production, 2015: This study examined some pervasive challenges to sustainability by design of electronic products, namely: (i) product and consumption redundancies; (i) embodied environmental and social impacts occurring distant in time and space from the point of consumption; and (iii) production and consumption dynamics. This analysis identified essential developments to assist design practice in preventing unintended environmental consequences: (1) complementing life cycle assessment studies; and (2) exploiting the vital role of product design in fostering a circular economy.
Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 108, Part A, 1 December 2015, Pages 281-288.
Author(s): Rafael Laurenti; Rajib Sinha; Jagdeep Singh; Björn Frostell.
|Waste Crime - Waste Risks: Gaps in Meeting the Global Waste Challenge
|GRID - Arendal - UNEP, 2015: The current publication is based on the latest research findings, and involvement from practitioners such as the formal waste sector, inspectors, law enforcement officers and prosecutors. It provides insight into the possible scale and features of the main drivers, along with case studies. It is not an exhaustive or fully comprehensive overview, but it intends to identify major areas of policy deficits and challenges that require further investigation, policy action and intervention for prevention and damage control, as well as to identify opportunities.
|Countering WEEE Illegal Trade (CWIT) Summary Report: Market Assessment, Legal Analysis, Crime Analysis and Recommendations Roadmap
|Consortium of the CWIT project, 2015: Final report summarising the findings of the FP7 funded project "Countering WEEE Illegal Trade". A set of 16 clusters of recommendations was tailored for each of the relevant stakeholder groups, illustrating the time needed to implement them and connected general support measures, support policies and law enforcement infrastructure development, as well as the actors that are primarily involved.
Consortium: Compliance & Risks, Cross-border Research Association, INTERPOL, UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), UNUniversity (UNU), WEEE Forum, and Zanasi & Partners.