San Jose, Costa Rica, 18 May 2016: During the World Resources Forum Latin America and the Caribbean, SRI, together with the the Network for Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECPNet), organised a workshop on the roadmap for sustainable e-waste management in Latin America. About 40 participants joined the WRF & RECPNet workshop which had the aim to furnish the participants with an update on current activities on recycling of e-waste in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and to discuss potential next steps towards a roadmap and cooperation opportunities at a regional level. Key messages from the discussion to be considered in a regional roadmap are the following:
- Cooperation among countries for the development of legal frameworks and mechanisms is critical to support the sustainable management and recycling of e-waste. While countries such as Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador have more advanced regulations e.g. on Extended Producer Responsibility covering e-waste, other countries still lack of enabling conditions from the legal perspective.
- Binational and international programs for controlling smuggling activities in the region is essential. Different economic contexts and regulatory frameworks incentivize the uncontrolled and illegal transfer of e-waste between countries resulting in more informal activities and negative socio-economic and environmental impacts. Cooperation among neighboring countries would be an effective measure to tackle this trade issue with economic, social and environmental implications.
- A one-stop shop at regional level to facilitate the exchange and speed-up the learning curve. Taking advantage of existing experiences in the region, a regional hub could facilitate the exchange among countries and make available materials and local expertise on business models, better recycling practices, eco-innovation and life cycle thinking in waste management.
- Improved cooperation among international agencies for development was suggested. Several international organizations are supporting national and regional e-waste activities and coordination of plans and activities would be of benefit for LAC countries: SRI is active in Colombia and Peru; The United Nations for Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is supporting several NCPCs; The National Metrology Institute of Germany (PBT) is active in several LAC countries.
- Need for more local capacities is seen as essential. The group of experts gathered agreed that more efforts should be done to increase the number of local experts e.g. to serve as consultants or certifiers in e-waste management activities.
- Beyond e-waste a need was expressed to include other types of waste that contains metals. Most existing regulations and legal frameworks concern e-waste and disregard other types of waste also containing metals such as used or waste from metal industries. More comprehensive regulations are required to improve the quantity and quality of metal recovered in LAC countries. Key factor for success would be the formation of alliances with big metal producers.
- More data on materials flow is required. Taking into account that ‘what can’t be measured, cannot be managed (Peter Drucker)’ there is a need for data generation at national level to develop e.g. sustainability and performance indicators in the context of policy making and sustainable management of recycling metals.