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Forum on Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste in Latin America Montevideo, Uruguay ITU/CITEL. "Best Practices on Electronic Scrap Management". Gustavo Fernandez Protomastro, Consultant, Econormas del Mercosur Project Consultant, Basel Convention Regional Centre for South America.

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best practices on electronic scrap management

Forum on Environmentally Sound Management of

E-waste in Latin America

Montevideo, Uruguay ITU/CITEL

"Best Practices on Electronic Scrap Management"

Gustavo Fernandez Protomastro,

Consultant, Econormas del Mercosur Project

Consultant, Basel Convention Regional Centre for South America


Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for South America

  • The Regional Center is based in Buenos Aires, its headquarters being the National Institute for Industrial Technology (INTI). It began operations in 2002, following the signature of an Agreement between Argentina’s Secretariat of the Environment and Sustainable Development (SAYDS) and INTI.
  • The Center acts as liaison for the countries in the region, through its focal points, countries’ competent authorities and the Regional Coordination Center. The Center provides assistance to the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and Uruguay.
  • The Center is a regional referent in the area of waste electrical and electronic equipment management, and is a member of the RELAC/SUR/IDRC Platform Executive Committee

Basel Convention Regional Centre for Training and Technology Transfer for South America

  • The Center’s most recent activities include the E-waste Inventory Project in South America, aimed at creating, drafting and updating a national inventory and at establishing technical guidelines to address the issue of waste electrical and electronic equipment in order to comply with international standards to achieve an environmentally sound management of such wastes. Colombia was provided assistance in the conduct of a pilot project for e-waste collection efforts.
  • The Center has also been involved in multiple activities to promote synergies with other conventions (Montreal Protocol – training of cooling engineers), mercury management (Stockholm Convention and SAICM)

Econormas Mercosur: Promoting sustainable production and consumption

  • The Mercosur is a regional trade agreement among Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. A number of other Latin American countries have associated member status. EU-Mercosur cooperation started in 1992. The EU and Mercosur 1995 Interregional Framework Co-operation Agreement, covers political dialogue, cooperation and trade issues.
  • The Regional Strategy Paper for the period 2007-2013 includes an EU contribution of EUR 50 million and aims at contributing to Mercosur progress towards a higher degree of political and economic integration.
  • “ECONORMAS Mercosur Project – Support for deepening the integration process and sustainable development” (EU contribution EUR 12 million) aims to improve the quality and standards of Mercosur products as well as to strengthen its capacity to reconcile growing economic activity and trade with a high level of environmental protection.

Econormas Mercosur: Promoting sustainable production and consumption

The project is a pilot experience which aims at converging transverse strategies of each State party in feasible and coherent regional strategies. Furthermore, this project articulates four courses of action, which are integrated and complementary among each other:

  • Promoting sustainable production and consumption (PCS)
  • Combating desertification and drought effects (DyS)
  • Advances for the implementation of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemical Products (SGA, for its name is Spanish), defined by the SGT N°6.
  • The convergence of regulation and statutory basis – quality and safety – of products in selected specific areas – wood and furniture, electrical products, metallurgical industry – and the creation of regional capacities of conformity assessment, defined by the SGT N°3.
special e waste challenges
  • High Volume of e-Waste (the highest growing stream of urban solid waste generation),
  • Limits or restrictions to dump e-waste with Municipal Solid Waste in Landfills,
  • Growing number of Product Types,
  • Heavy, Bulky and complex Waste to process,
  • Requires special logistics and new handling facilities, with new e-waste processing Technology
  • Most of the end users keep the e-scrap in warehouses, garages or attics;
special e waste challenges1
  • So a Challenge is how to seduce end users to turn back e-waste to Recycling Systems;
  • Full equipment or spare parts & pieces are regulated as Hazardous waste or not allowed to be dumped in municipal landfills in many countries
  • New e-Waste Plants are Required in Developing countries
    • Existing facilities not designed to handle or
    • Need special equipment, new process, EHS and training to be managed
  • World is requiring “urban mining”to satisfy the raw materials demand of the Digital Era
e waste is the fastest growing waste stream but also the richest above ground mine
E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream but also the richest above ground mine
  • 67 million metric tons of electrical and electronic equipment were put on the market in 2013
  • 53 million metric tons e-waste were disposed of worldwide in 2013.
  • 3 o 4 kg/person/day en Latin America, 15 to 20 kg/person/year en OCDE
  • For every one million cell phones that are recycled, 16 tons of copper, 350 kilos of silver, 34 kilos of gold and 15 kilos of palladium can be recovered
  • Global industry trends: >50 % of the iron, copper, aluminum, lead and PGM coming from “urban Mining”
e waste management key decisions
  • Choose among Public e-waste Programs (National or Municipal) or Private BtoB e-waste programs or NGOs
  • Or choose mixed programs. Make synergies
  • Financing (Show me the money!!!): Choose who will pay among alternatives such as Producers EPR taxes, municipal taxes or eco-taxes over new products or voluntary programs.
  • At the end of the day, we all pay for a better environment: users, buyers, tax payers, stakeholders, Producer & Government. Be clever in finding financing
  • So make it important the e-scrap Industry & you´ll get the financing from users, Producers and, tax payers...
e waste management key decisions1
  • Use current collection/logistics systems or develop new e-scrap reverse logistics
  • Direct Reuse or Refurbishment
  • Component Recovery or Raw Material Recovery
  • Recycling & refining or treatment & final disposal
  • Import & export, considering local infrastructure or ban e-waste movements
how is the value chain of e scrap management in developed countries
How is the Value Chain of e-Scrap Management in Developed Countries


WEEE Management



Recovery & Recycling




to refineries

Function (spare parts

or equipment)

Raw Materials


  • Plastics recyclers
  • Glass recyclers
  • Cable recyclers
  • Ferrous and non ferrous recyclers
  • Metal smelters


Corporate or private consumer


1) Municipal collection

2) OEM services

3) Non OEM services

4) BtoB eScrap collection programs

E-Scrap Refineries

Ash or slag disposal



Producers & Importers


The green recycling chain


Spare parts recovery

Recycling and sorting by e-Scrapers


Recovery of function from refurbishes or recyclers that “harvest” spare parts such as memories, IC chips, power supplies, batteries, etc.

Raw material recyclers : get ferrous scrap for iron/steel smelters; plastics for extruders; copper/aluminum and other base metals processors or smelters

Base and precious metal refineries




Adapted from EMPA

principles policies on e waste management
Principles & Policies on e-Waste management

An effective response to the e-waste problem also requires a clear allocation of roles and responsibilities among several actors, as well as the identification and implementation of a mix of policies interventions, which must be adapted to the local context as much as possible.

General policy and regulatory recommendations relate to harmonization; standards and certification; obligations and incentives of key actors; extended producer responsibility policies; and various forms of partnerships designed to address e-waste.

principles policies on e waste management1
Principles & Policies on e-Waste management

Any effective e-waste management ecosystem must address the local context at the core of its design. There is a need to balance the push for access to ICTs with the practicality of harnessing the resultant e-waste in a manner that is sustainable for the long term.

Other critical aspects of developing a roapmap for e-waste management include identifying stakeholders; compliance; enforcement; and awareness and capacity-building.

considerations to select an e waste vendor reverse logistics recyclers rma etc
Considerations to select an e-waste vendor (reverse logistics, recyclers, RMA, etc.)
  • Use a Check List Auditory on Sound Processes and Technology on e-waste management, not a best price consideration
    • Most advantageous, not lowest cost
    • Enlist expertise of others
    • Regulatory compliance, ISO, Health & Safety or Environmental requirements
    • Environmental Management Systems
    • Downstream auditing/tracking capability
    • Recycler due diligence of end markets
environmentally sound management
Regulatory Compliance

Follow Agreed Upon Standards

Down Stream Material Tracking

Impact on Environment

Business Practices

Independent Third Party Certification

Third Party Audits

planning an e waste program
  • Determine what is best for your community or clients/consumers
    • Develop a Public or Private + Public or BtoB Program
    • Define program Goals
    • Evaluate Existing Logistics and/ or Infrastructure
    • Match Program Design with Local Needs
    • Select Format System: Municipal Program, Integrated Management Program, Third Party Program
collection models
  • Drop-off Event (one-day or multiple days)
  • Permanent Collection Facilities (indicating Where? When? How? Free or Payer System??
  • Curbside Collection
  • Retail Collection:
  • Nonprofit/Thrift Retail Collection
program planning
  • Site Selection and Layout (make it simple and “cool” the take back process for everybody)
  • Social Networks platform for connecting end user with the Programs actors and processes.
  • Make it simple how end-user returns the e-scrap
  • Make it easy and “cool” the billing or paying or awarding for the people that participate of the program
  • Staffing and Training Needs
  • EHS prevention programs
  • Get enough Space, Collection Equipment and Vehicle Needs. Estimate of Participation
  • Control Costs, make it safe for people and environment
publicity and outreach
  • Relationship between convenience, outreach, and participation
  • What to include in outreach messages
  • Media resources
  • Social Networking: make it “cool” and simple the collection process


  • Contract Management
  • Stakeholder Reports
  • Program Evaluation
  • Comparison to Other Programs
operational considerations for e waste facilities
Operational considerations for e-waste Facilities
  • Define and follow General Site Procedures
  • Provide Personal Protective Equipment
  • On-site Segregation and Storage
  • Environment and Health Monitoring
  • Packaging and Transportation
  • Recycling Certificates/Tracking Documentation
  • Feedback to Authorities, OEMs, NGOs or consumers/users
where electronic scrap is generated treated and refined latin america is the new frontier
Where electronic scrap is generated, treated and refined. Latin America is the new frontier


Adapted from BOLIDEN

final thoughts
  • E-Waste has valuable quantities of spare parts and/or raw materials but also contains traces of Hazardous Waste to be treated.
  • Producers and where is no EPR, the Government, have long-term liability
  • Private, Public and Mixed Programs can generate synergies in e-waste reverse logistics or processing/treating Integrated Systems
  • Lead easy and “cool” take back/collections of e-waste programs. Get synergies
final thoughts1
  • Select (or become) the best logistics, recycling o end treatment contractor
  • Monitor step, by step, the full process of the e-waste management: green eyes improves sustainability
  • Control (if Governments) or lead Due Diligence (if Producers, Consumers, NGOs) the e-waste flows
  • Urban mining will support a growing demand of the raw materials needs from the Digital Era