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1 PROJECT REPORT: Does the Basel Ban form an effective and sustainable means of addressing the health and environmental problems caused by the export of e-waste from developed countries to developing nations and countries in transition? PUBLISHED BY: Free University of Berlin Department of Political and Social Science Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) Master: Public and Private Environmental Management AUTHORS: Alexandra Skinner Alexander Lloyd Yvonne Dinter Philip Strothmann DATE: April 2010

2 Table of Content Table of Content CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Problem description The Basel Convention and Basel Ban Research Question and Objective Methodology... 6 CHAPTER 2: E-WASTE AND THE EU 2.1 Introduction Quantity Quality Legal Situation The Waste Shipment Regulation WSR: Enforcement WSR: Influence on the Export of E-waste The WEEE Directive WEEE Directive: Enforcement WEEE Directive: Influence on the Export of E-waste Conclusion Legislation and Enforcement in the European Union Consequences for the Export of E-waste Implications for the Effectiveness of the Basel Ban CHAPTER 3: E-WASTE AND THE US 3.1 Introduction Quantity of US E-waste Exports Quality of US E-waste Exports E-waste Regulation in the United States Federal E-waste Regulations Legislation Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Page II

3 Table of Content EPA s CRT Rule Recent developments Enforcement Influence on the Export of E-waste State E-waste Regulations Legislation Enforcement Influence on the Export of E-waste Conclusion Legislation and Enforcement in the United States Consequences for the Export of E-waste Implications for the Effectiveness of the Basel Ban CHAPTER 4: E-WASTE AND INDIA 4.1 Introduction Sources of E-Waste Private Consumers Manufacturers, Businesses and Government Institutions Imports into India Waste Flow within India Quantity GTZ Study Other Statistics Future Growth PCs in India Mobile Phones Televisions Quantity Conclusion Economic and Social Effects of E-waste Recycling Toxicity of E-Waste Recycling Toxins in Informal Recycling Lead and other metals PBDEs and PCDD/PCDFs Toxins in informal e-waste processing: conclusion Comparison between formal and informal sectors in Bangalore using a tracer... Page III

4 Table of Content Item Informal Recycler Formal Recycler State of the Art Recyclers Comparison of Toxicity: Conclusion Toxicity Conclusion Social Aspects Pickers and Collectors Informal recyclers Formal recyclers Social conclusion Efficiency/ Recovery Rates Comparison of Gold Recovery Formal and Informal Best Available Technology Other Economic Aspects Conclusion: Recovery Rates and Economics Conclusion: Formal and Informal Comparison The Political Situation Perception of the Problem Public awareness Awareness among dismantlers and recyclers Awareness among manufactures Workshops, Programmes and Studies Study by Toxics Link, GTZ, BMZ & Maharashtra Pollution Control Board Indo German-Swiss E-Waste Initiative Indo-European-e-Waste Initiative (IEeWASTE) Current Legislative Situation Judicial Rulings Laws Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management of Electronic Waste Assessment of existing regulation Draft E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules Scope Page IV

5 Table of Content Definitions Responsibilities Financing Assessment of the draft Conclusion CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION 5.1 Overview EU & US India Conclusion CHAPTER 6: FUTURE PERSPECTIVES 6.1 Perspectives for the Basel Ban Status of Ratification Provisions in the convention and ban Enforcement Conclusion Alternative Proposals International Level Definition and Provisions Bi- or Multilateral Assistance Facility-based shipments National Level National Legislation Capacity training and inter-agency cooperation Conclusion Page V

6 Table of Content ANNEX ANNEX I - List of Interviews REFERENCES References TABLES Table 1: Categories of Electrical and Electronic Equipment.19 Table 2: Wastewater toxicity from cyanide leaching.. 56 FIGURES Figure 1: E-Waste Flow within India 47 Figure 2: Quantity of E-Waste...49 Page VI

7 List of Abbreviations LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AREC ASEM BAN BMZ CN CPCB CRT DGFT EcoBIRD EEE EFTA EMPA EPA EPR ETBC EU EWA EXIM codes GAO GTZ HWM Austria Recycling Advisory Services in Environmental Management Basel Action Network Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Germany) Combined Nomenclature Central Pollution Control Board (India) Cathode Ray Tube Directorate General of Foreign Trade Bifurcation, Identification, Recycling and Disposal Electrical and Electronic Equipment European Free Trade Association Swiss Federal Institute for Materials Science and Technology U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Extended Producer Responsibility Electronics TakeBack Coalition (US) European Union E-Waste Agency Bangalore Export-import codes U.S. Government Accountability Office German Agency for Technical Cooperation Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Page VII

8 List of Abbreviations IAER IPR KSPCB MAIT MoEF MPCB NCER NEPSI NERIC NGO OECD PBDE PCDD PCDF PWB RCRA RoHS SPCB StEP SVTC TERI UMPR UNEP International Association of Electronics Recyclers Individual Producer Responsibility Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (India) Manufacturer s Association for Information Technology Ministry of Environment and Forest (India) Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (India) National Center for Electronics Recycling (US) National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (US) National Electronics Recycling Infrastructure Clearinghouse (US) Non-governmental Organisation Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development polybrominated dephenyl ethers polychlorinated dibenzodioxins polychlorinated dibenzofurans Printed Wiring Boards Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (US) Restriction of certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EU) State Control Pollution Board (India) Solving the E-waste Problem (EU) Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (US) The Energy and Resources Institute (India) Umicore Precious Metal Recycling United Nations Environmental Programme Page VIII

9 List of Abbreviations US WEEE United States of America Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Page IX

10 Chapter 1: Introduction CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 PROBLEM DESCRIPTION In recent decades, the use of electronic and electrical devices has increased significantly, leading to rapidly rising amounts of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), often also called e-waste, throughout the world. The Solving the e-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative, an organization composed of various UN agencies, NGOs and companies working in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sector, defines e-waste as: [A] term used to cover almost all types of electrical and electronic equipment that has or could enter the waste stream. Although e-waste is a general term, it can be often considered to cover TVs, computers, mobile phones, white goods (fridges, washing machines, dryers etc.), home entertainment and stereo systems, toys, toasters, kettles almost any household or business item with circuitry or electrical components with power or battery supply (StEP 2009). As of now, no standard definition of e-waste exists and the understanding of what is considered as such varies significantly among different regions of the world. In this paper, we are going to use the terms WEEE and e-waste synonymously and in accordance with the predominant concept of the region we are dealing with. In the EU context, for instance, the term is used in accordance with the WEEE-Directive. Currently, around million tonnes of WEEE are generated worldwide. The rate increases by as much as 3-5% each year, making e-waste one of the fastest-growing hazardous waste streams on a global level. When compared to growth rates of municipal waste streams, e- waste increases nearly three times faster. The factors behind this development are the rapid obsolescence and replacement of electronic products caused by technological innovation and aggressive marketing (UNEP, 2005:1). Moreover, demand for electronic products is also fuelled by unsaturated markets, mainly in non-industrialized countries, and by low prices for many electrical goods created by economies of scale. These aspects will contribute considerably to the dimension of e-waste quantities in the future. E-waste is a highly complex waste stream, as it contains both very scarce and valuable as well as highly toxic components. Mobile phones, for instance, consist of up to 1000 different components, many of which contain toxic elements such as lead, cadmium or brominated flame retardants. When burned, these elements release toxic emissions. Many detrimental health effects are connected to the recycling and disposal of e-waste when performed without Page 1 of 99

11 Chapter 1: Introduction the necessary safety precautions. For instance, lead affects the nervous and blood system. Its effects on children are particularly negative, damaging their brain development. In addition, landfilled WEEE seriously affects the environment, causing contamination problems such as the pollution of groundwater through the leakage of toxins (Puckett et al., 2002:9; also see Chapter 4.5). Although the term e- waste suggests otherwise, it is also made up of if only to a very small percentage precious metals like silver or gold and special metals such as indium. A PC produced today contains roughly 1 g of gold; in the early phases of PC generation, it reached amounts of up to 4 g (Widmer et al., 2005:444). This illustrates that the recycling and disposal of obsolete products requires highly sophisticated methods so as to recover as many resources as possible and keep the risk to humans and the environment as low as possible. In spite of this need, great quantities of e-waste are dismantled or recycled in developing countries and countries in transition, using backyard techniques which pose substantial dangers to both unprotected workers and the environment (StEP 2009; Greenpeace, 2008:7). Our report needs to be placed in the context outlined above. It focuses on the problematic health, environmental and economic issues that are connected with e-waste and on the currently existing measures to counter the problem on the policy level. After providing an introduction into e-waste regulation at an international level in the next section, Section 1.3 specifies our research question, followed by an illustration of the methodology used. Sections 2 and 3 give an overview of current e-waste legislation, enforcement and export in the two largest points of origin of e-waste in the developed world, the European Union and the United States (US). The fourth section focuses on India, where a significant number of shipments of e-waste from the developed world end up for processing. It provides an overview of Indian legislation on e-waste and assesses the impacts of national and international regulations on the e-waste sector. The economic aspects of e-waste in India as well as the health issues connected to informal e-waste processing are also given special attention. Chapter 5 concludes that the Basel Ban in its current form does not provide an effective and sustainable tool for achieving its stated objectives and Chapter 6 proposes alternative options. Page 2 of 99

12 Chapter 1: Introduction 1.2 THE BASEL CONVENTION AND BASEL BAN In the late 1980s, waste in general e-waste was not much of an issue at that time received much attention on the global political agenda. A tightening of environmental standards and a resulting rise in disposal costs in industrialized countries led these nations to ship their hazardous wastes to countries with lower environmental and health standards. Toxic wastes could not always be managed adequately in the countries of destination. Subsequently, indiscriminate dumping and improper management of hazardous wastes caused air, water, and soil pollution and threatened human health. When this uncontrolled dumping of waste, particularly in developing countries, was revealed, international outrage led to the drafting and adoption of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal in 1989 (UNEP, 2007:14; Basel Secretariat, 2009a). The Basel Convention, which entered into force in 1992, is the UN s primary instrument for dealing with international waste issues and constitutes the first attempt at comprehensive regulation of international transport and disposal of hazardous wastes on a global level (Kummer, 1992:530). The Convention s key objectives are to diminish the generation of hazardous wastes, reduce transboundary movements of such types of waste by disposing of it as close to the source of generation as possible, and ensure its environmentally sound management. In order to reach these objectives, it sets up a system of prior written notifications for transboundary movements of hazardous wastes. Such movements are only allowed provided all the participating states agree and were informed beforehand. According to Article 11 of the Convention, transboundary movements of hazardous waste to non-party states" is only permissible if bi- or multilateral agreements exist that are in line with the Basel Convention. The responsibility for complying with the Convention lies with the exporter and requires the take-back of waste, for instance in cases of illegal transports (Basel Convention, Article 9). According to List A of Annex VIII (A1180), WEEE is considered hazardous and thus generally covered by the Convention s jurisdiction (Sinha-Khetriwal et al., 2006:27). Today, there are 172 parties to the Convention. As one of only a few countries, the USA one of the major producers of e-waste has not ratified the Basel Convention (Basel Secretariat, 2010). Many developing countries denounced the Convention as an instrument that served more to legitimize hazardous waste trade rather than to prohibit what many felt was a criminal activity (BAN, 2008). These nations, together with countries from Eastern and Western Europe and the NGO Greenpeace, pushed for a complete export ban of hazardous waste from OECD to non-oecd countries. Despite the opposition of powerful Page 3 of 99

13 Chapter 1: Introduction states such as the USA, Japan, Australia, and Germany, the parties agreed to an amendment to the Convention in 1995 which came to be known as the Basel Ban (Decision III/1) (BAN, 2008a). The Amendment bans transboundary movements of hazardous waste intended for final disposal from Annex VII states (OECD; EC and Liechtenstein) to non-annex VII states. Export of hazardous waste intended for recovery and recycling to states not listed in Annex VII should be banned from 1998 onwards (Decision II/12) (UNEP, 2007:17). Accordingly, both provisions also include an export ban for e-waste that is classified as hazardous. However, it is very important to note that the Basel Ban has not yet entered into force. The Amendment will only come into effect upon ratification by three-fourths of the parties. So far, 68 states have ratified the Ban. Since the adoption of the Amendment, there has been an as yet unresolved legal debate over how to interpret Article 17 of the Convention. An ambiguity exists as to whether the three-fourths of the Parties, equalling 62, necessary for the Amendment s legal effectiveness are to be drawn from all Parties currently part of the Convention or only from the 82 that were actually present when Decision III/1 was taken (BAN, 2006a:1). Given the adoption of the Amendment 15 years ago, the pace of ratification of the Amendment is very slow and it seems unlikely that it will come into effect in the near future. Regardless of the legal dispute, the European Union (EU) decided to implement the Basel Ban through an amendment to its Waste Shipment Regulation in Not only does the EU ban the export of e-waste to non-oecd countries, it has also introduced other pieces of legislation, among them the WEEE- and RoHS Directives, which respectively force producers and resellers to implement a take-back system and to phase-out certain hazardous materials in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). Nevertheless, loopholes exist and illegal trade to third countries is still rampant (EC, 2008a:25). Over the last couple of years, India has become a major destination for e-waste. At present, a huge informal sector exists for the dismantling and recycling of e-waste, causing significant damage to human health and the environment. In contrast to other countries, India has no legislation dedicated to the import, treatment and processing of e-waste, though e-waste is partly covered by hazardous waste laws. Recently the Indian Manufacturers Association for Information Technology (MAIT), together with NGOs such as Greenpeace and Toxics Link, proposed new legislation on e-waste (see Section 4.6.4). Page 4 of 99

14 Chapter 1: Introduction 1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION AND OBJECTIVE The project aims to provide an answer to the following central question: Does the Basel Ban form an effective and sustainable means of addressing the health and environmental problems caused by the export of e-waste from developed countries to developing nations and countries in transition? In order to address this question, the project will examine quantitative and qualitative variables related to the effectiveness and sustainability of the Basel Ban, outlined in detail in Section 1.4. For the purposes of this project, effectiveness will be defined simply in terms of the Ban s ability to fulfil its stated aim; that is, the prohibition of all transboundary movements of hazardous wastes which are destined for operations according to Annex IV A, to States not listed in Annex VII of the Basel Convention (Basel Convention). Annex IV A outlines all practical methods of disposing of hazardous waste, while Annex VII refers to Liechtenstein as well as all states which are members of either the OECD or the European Union. The term sustainable will follow the UN definition that a process is sustainable when it meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (UN 1987). As sustainability refers not only to the environmental but also to the social and economic results of a policy, this project will accordingly consider all three aspects. The central research question can be further broken down into three smaller questions, each of which will be investigated according to the methods outlined in Section 1.4: 1. How does a ban on the export of e-waste from developed countries affect the quantity and quality of the e-waste arriving in developing countries? (effectiveness of the Ban) 2. Can the existing and proposed legislation proscribing such a ban be enforced? (effectiveness of the Ban) 3. How does such a ban affect the environmental and health conditions, the economic livelihoods, and the working conditions of the recycling workers in the developing countries? (Ban s effect on sustainability in the e-waste sector) Page 5 of 99

15 Chapter 1: Introduction 1.4 METHODOLOGY The results of this study are based on eight expert interviews and careful research of publications, statistics, and studies on e-waste coming from government and business organisations, NGOs, and academia. We interviewed academic, NGO, and European Commission experts involved in the development and enforcement of WEEE legislation in both Europe and India, as well as the head of ATTERO Recycling in India (interviews transcribed in Annex 2). Four interviews were conducted in person and four by telephone. As the project required determining the effectiveness and sustainability of an international agreement that has not yet entered into force (the Basel Ban), we used as a substitute a comparison of the status of e-waste regulation and exports in two developed regions of the world. One of these regions (the European Union) has passed legislation which essentially implements the Basel Ban. The other country (the United States) has neither ratified the Basel Convention nor has existing legislation regulating the shipment of most types of e-waste to developing nations (Schmidt, 1999; GAO, 2008: 3-4). India was chosen as an example of a country in transition receiving a large number of e-waste shipments from OECD countries and where the e-waste recycling sector has grown substantially in recent years. Variables and Hypotheses In order to determine the effectiveness and sustainability of the Basel Ban as a solution to the e-waste problem (dependent variable), we investigated the following independent variables and hypotheses: Group 1 the European Union Variable 1a: amount of e-waste exported from the European Union to India per year under a Basel Ban regime and before the implementation of the WEEE Directive (tonnes/capita). Variable 1b: amount of e-waste exported from the European Union to India per year under a Basel Ban regime and after the implementation of the WEEE Directive (tonnes/capita). Variable 1c: quality of e-waste exported from the European Union to India per year under a Basel Ban regime and before the implementation of the WEEE Directive (tonnes/capita). The quality is determined by the level of function of the e-waste (fully functioning, in need of repair, or fit only for recycling/disposal). Page 6 of 99

16 Chapter 1: Introduction Variable 1d: quality of e-waste exported from the European Union to India per year under a Basel Ban regime and after the implementation of WEEE (tonnes/capita). The quality will be determined by the level of function of the e-waste. Hypothesis 1: If Variable 1a is higher than Variable 1b and/or Variable 1d demonstrates higher quality than Variable 1c, the Basel Ban demonstrates greater effectiveness if it is complemented by more comprehensive legislation in the respective area. Group 2 the United States of America Variable 2a: amount of e-waste exported from the United States to India per year (tonnes/capita). This amount is further subdivided into legal and illegal exports. Variable 2b: quality of e-waste exported from the United States to India (tonnes/capita). The quality is determined by the level of function of the e-waste. Hypothesis 2: If Variable 2a is higher than Variable 1b and/or Variable 2b demonstrates a lower quality than Variable 1d, the Basel Ban demonstrates effectiveness in this respective area. Group 3 India: e-waste streams and environmental impacts Variable 3a: amount of e-waste handled by the formal recycling sector in India. If possible, we wanted to determine the percentage of the sector s total e-waste originating in the EU and the US respectively. Variable 3b: amount of e-waste handled by the informal recycling sector in India. If possible, we wanted to determine the percentage of the sector s total e-waste originating in the EU and the US respectively. Variable 3c: quality of e-waste handled by the formal recycling sector in India. The quality is determined by the level of function of the e-waste and the amount of hazardous materials in the e-waste. Variable 3d: quality of e-waste handled by the informal recycling sector in India. The quality is determined by the level of function of the e-waste and the amount of hazardous materials in the e-waste. Page 7 of 99

17 Chapter 1: Introduction Hypothesis 3a: The ratio of Variable 3a to Variable 3b indicates the relative importance of each recycling sector for the Indian economy. Hypothesis 3b: The ratio of Variable 3c to Variable 3d indicates the relative environmental impact of each e-waste recycling sector. The higher the impact, the more that needs to be changed in the sector itself in order to achieve sustainability. Group 4 India: economic and social impacts of e-waste recycling Variable 4a: economic and social impact of formal e-waste recycling sector in New Delhi, India Subvariables: 1. Number of jobs 2. Average wages in comparison to cost of living in New Delhi 3. Exposure of workers to environmental and health toxins 4. Enforcement of regulations Variable 4b: economic and social impact of informal e-waste recycling sector in New Delhi, India Subvariables: 1. Number of jobs 2. Average wages in comparison to cost of living in New Delhi 3. Exposure of workers to environmental and health toxins 4. Enforcement of regulations Variable 4c: recovery rates of recyclable materials for a tracer item of e-waste (e.g. computers) when recycled by the formal sector. Variable 4d: recovery rates of recyclable materials for a tracer item of e-waste (e.g. computers) when recycled by the informal sector. Hypothesis 4a: When the amount of e-waste processed from abroad (variable 3b) and the number of jobs in the informal sector (variable 4b) is significantly higher than in the formal sector (variables 3a and 4a), this indicates that the need for legislation regulating e-waste is high and the effectiveness of possible existing legislation low. Page 8 of 99

18 Chapter 1: Introduction Hypothesis 4b: If the average wages in comparison to cost of living in New Delhi in the informal sector are higher than in the formal sector, this indicates that the incentive to transfer the sector into a fully formalized sector is low. Hypothesis 4c: When the informal sector plays a significant role in the processing of e-waste from abroad (comparing variables 3a and 3b) and few economic (when 4c<4d) or legal incentives exist to transform the informal sector into a formal sector, the sustainability of the Basel Ban can also be called into question. This is due to the fact that the Ban (should it work) would remove potential income from recycling workers in the informal sector while having little effect on improving working conditions there. Group 5 Legislation and Enforcement Variable 5a: e-waste regulations in the EU. Two points were closely examined: the existence of legislation and its effect on e-waste practices within the EU, and the enforcement of existing legislation. Variable 5b: e-waste regulations in the US. Three points were closely examined: the existence of legislation and its effect on e-waste practices within the US, the enforcement of existing legislation, and the potential capacity for enforcement of proposed or potential legislation. Variable 5c: e-waste regulations in India. Three points were closely examined: the existence of legislation, the enforcement of existing legislation, and the potential capacity for enforcement of proposed legislation. Hypothesis 5: When legislation has been proposed or has been implemented that reflects the principles of the Basel Ban, this increases the potential effectiveness of the Ban. If the legislation has been fully enforced, this indicates the Basel Ban s effectiveness. If legislation enforcing the Ban has not been introduced, passed or enforced, or if other existing e-waste legislation has not been enforced, this reduces the Ban s effectiveness. Although the original project plan aimed to evaluate each of these variables, the degree to which we were able to obtain results differed significantly from factor to factor. As a result, the variables concerning regulation (5a-c) play a larger role in our conclusions than those variables measuring quantity and quality (1a-d, 2a-b, 3a-d). Page 9 of 99

19 Chapter 2: E-Waste and the EU CHAPTER 2: E-WASTE AND THE EU 2.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter focuses on the European experience with legislating e-waste. Aware of the growing amount of e-waste within the Community, its potentially hazardous nature, and the consumption of resources in its manufacture, the EU identified WEEE as a [ ] priority waste stream [ ] (Widmer et al., 2005:446) as early as In 1997, the EU ratified the Basel Ban Amendment III/1, which meant an implementation of the Basel Ban in all member states (BAN, 2008b). For a number of years now, WEEE has been the fastest-growing waste stream in the EU (ETC/RWM, 2008:10). It was only after years of intense debate, though, that various pieces of legislation aimed at tackling the root of the e-waste problem came into force. Central in this context are the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and RoHS (Restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances) Directives, both of which entered into force in 2003 (Hester & Harrison, 2008:6-7). The fact that the EU not only ratified the Ban but also passed additional legislation regulating e-waste illustrates why the EU plays a special role in examining the e-waste problem in our project: it is used as a substitute example to study the application of the Ban in a context with additional legislation, especially the WEEE Directive. The situation in the EU could thus allow us to draw lessons should the Ban be ratified globally. In order to analyse the effectiveness of the Ban, Variables 1a-d and Variable 5a are examined. Variables 1a-d describe the amount and quality of e-waste exported from the EU to India under a Basel Ban regime and in a situation in which the Ban is complemented by the WEEE Directive. Using Variable 5a, the effect of e-waste legislation on e-waste practices within the EU will be investigated and possible enforcement difficulties will be studied. Due to various difficulties outlined in the next part, only a limited answer can be given to Variables 1a-d, which is why the focus shifted to Variable 5a. Methodologically, this chapter is based on a thorough literature review and four telephone interviews 1 conducted with experts from the European Commission, the VROM Inspectorate in the Netherlands and the StEP Initiative. The expert interviews were guideline-based and 1 A list of the interviews is added in Annex I. Due to obligations to observe confidentiality the transcribed interviews were not enclosed in the report. Page 10 of 99

20 Chapter 2: E-Waste and the EU mainly served the purpose of getting a broader understanding of the issue. They also, however, sought additional information and assessments of current developments. 2.2 QUANTITY WEEE represents the fastest-growing waste stream in the EU, with a generation of million tonnes in By 2020, the amount is estimated to reach 12.3 million tonnes, corresponding to an annual growth of 2.5 to 2.7% (EC 2008:2; Hester & Harrison, 2009:161). Although the amount of separately collected WEEE is estimated to be much higher, only one third of WEEE arising in the EU is officially reported as being treated properly, i.e. in line with the WEEE Directive. Part of the collected but unreported two thirds is suspected of being treated in the EU without appropriate environmental care or shipped illegally to treatment sites outside the EU that do not meet European environmental and health standards. Some may also be dumped in developing countries (EC, 2008a:2). The aim of the project was to determine the quantity of e-waste exported from the EU in tonnes per capita yearly under a Basel Ban regime and before and after the implementation of the WEEE Directive. The intention was to examine if the Basel Ban demonstrates higher effectiveness if it is complemented by more comprehensive legislation in the field of e-waste. However, various problems prevented a detailed analysis. The current data situation for transboundary shipments of e-waste renders it highly difficult to determine the exact amounts of e-waste being exported out of the EU by ship, let alone a breakdown of these numbers by destination of shipments. Estimates for illegal e-waste shipments are even harder to obtain. Waste shipments are considered illegal in the EU if they do not comply with the provisions set forth in the Waste Shipment Regulation 2. As far as the lack of sufficient and reliable data is concerned, the problem lies less with an insufficient generation of data than with the minimal requirements of data to be reported to the European Commission. Of the gathered information which in many cases is very detailed on a national level due to notification system requirements laid down in the Waste Shipment Regulation only highly aggregated data are included in the reports to the European Commission and the Basel Secretariat (EEA, 2009:7). Data retrieved from trade statistics can be used for examining developments in the field of e-waste shipments, though only to a 2 Until 12 July 2007: COUNCIL REGULATION (EEC) No 259/93 of 1 February 1993 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community, afterwards EU REGULATION (EC) No 1013/2006 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste. Page 11 of 99

21 Chapter 2: E-Waste and the EU limited extent. The Combined Nomenclature (CN) codes for EEE used in these statistics do not allow for a classification of EEE as waste, used, or new products. In addition, only a small number of CN codes can be used to gather data that is unambiguously on WEEE. This means that the overall amount of WEEE retrieved from trade statistics only represents a fraction of the quantity that is actually shipped (ETC/RWM, 2008:51). In sum, the use of ambiguous codes for e-waste fractions in reports to the European Commission severely complicates any analysis. Fraud in documents, for instance when e-waste is labelled as used EEE instead of WEEE, also contributes to the difficulty of determining the e-waste quantity (EEA, 2009:13). From 2005 onwards, data reporting in the EU has been adjusted according to the WEEE Directive. Figures for WEEE collected and treated inside and outside the EU are divided into ten product categories and provide probably the most reliable source at present. However, the data does not include information about the countries to which e-waste is exported. Data for the period only had to be made available by the member states by mid-2008 at the latest (Ibid.:50). As our intention was to compare EU exports before and after the implementation of the WEEE Directive over a number of years, using these datasets did not seem a viable option for our purposes. In 2007, the European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management (ETC/RWM) prepared a technical report for the European Environment Agency on Transboundary shipments of waste in the EU. Among other topics, the report examined data for registered WEEE shipments based on trade statistics. The figures for 2005 indicate that not even 10% of the 250,000 tonnes of exported WEEE are shipped to countries outside the EU; the majority goes to other member states. However, as only a very small part of WEEE can be retrieved from trade statistics, the quantities of e-waste actually shipped is expected to be much higher than the 25,000 tonnes mentioned above. According to these statistics, Asia was the largest trade partner of the EU-15, followed by South Eastern European countries (ETC/RWM 2008:50-54). Zoeteman, et al. (2009:29-30) estimate the total of WEEE and related functioning equipment exported out of the EU to non-oecd countries at 1.9 million tonnes per year (based on the year 2005). The underlying assumption is that 10-20% of total WEEE generated in the EU is exported illegally to non-oecd countries. On top of this amount, the study adds another estimated 30% of categories 3 and 4 (see section 2.4.2) of WEEE legally exported for reuse. Page 12 of 99

22 Chapter 2: E-Waste and the EU In order to provide a basis for a comparison with the U.S. on e-waste exports, the quantities mentioned above (25,000 tonnes and 1.9 million tonnes) can be divided by the EU-25 population, which equalled million in 2005 (Eurostat, 2007:51) As a result, the EU exported roughly between less than and tonnes per capita in The significant difference between the figures is a result of the different e-waste items that are covered by the two export figures. Therefore, the value of a comparison between the EU and U.S. on the basis of the current data situation can be questioned. Although evidence suggests that large volumes of WEEE are illegally shipped out of the EU to sub-standard treatment sites in the developing world, their illegal nature makes attempts to gather data on their volume daunting. Often, such shipments are disguised as exports of used EEE (EC, 2008b:38). As no criteria for reusability exist at the moment (Huisman et al., 2007:195), used EEE are treated like new products and normally not subject to further controls concerning functionality. There are only a few studies on illegal exports of WEEE that can be consulted to get a rough indication of its scope. A study conducted in the UK found that roughly 10% of WEEE transports were shipped against the law to non-oecd countries. In the Netherlands, WEEE streams leaving the country were examined, showing that around 10% of certain WEEE categories, mainly refrigerators and TVs, were illegally shipped. Nearly half of this WEEE was headed for China / Hong Kong, followed by West Africa with 28% (Ibid.:82). Assuming an extrapolation of the outcome to EU level is considered reasonable, it would suggest that roughly 10% of these types of WEEE are illegally exported (Zoeteman, et al., 2009:29-30). This estimation is more or less in line with the previously stated assumption that 10-20% of total WEEE generated in the EU is exported illegally to non-oecd countries (Ibid.). Data retrieved from current statistics on WEEE do not contain sufficient information to draw a clear picture of e-waste quantities exported out of the EU and determine the volume destined for India. At present, reporting on WEEE covers 10 main categories, for example large household appliances or lighting equipment, and does not indicate the receiver country. Despite the difficult data situation, some general tendencies for quantities of e-waste exported out of the EU can be made. Compared to the overall amount of WEEE generated in the EU, only a small fraction of e-waste is legally exported. Studies on e-waste exports have shown that despite EU legislation proscribing the export of e-waste to non-oecd countries, a substantial amount of WEEE still is exported illegally according to estimates, as much as Page 13 of 99

23 Chapter 2: E-Waste and the EU 10-20% of WEEE generated in the EU. One of the main reasons for illegal exports lies in the lack of criteria for distinguishing new, used, and waste products, leading to a situation in which WEEE exports are disguised as used EEE. No concrete figures could be found in relation to the impacts of the WEEE Directive on exports. However, experts assume that the Directive has unintentionally increased illegal exports, as ambitious environmental regulations may lead to increased efforts on the part of some stakeholders to avoid expensive compliance with these rules (Interviews III, IV). 2.3 QUALITY Problems similar to those outlined above also limited our collection of reliable qualitative data in order to provide an answer to Variable 1c-d. As already described above, codes in trade statistics do not allow a distinction between endof-life and new products (ETC/RWM, 2008:64), making assertions concerning the quality of e-waste or more specifically a distinction between functioning and non-functioning products nearly impossible. Used second-hand goods are treated like new products, which means that normally no further controls concerning functionality are conducted. However, documented cases in the European media have shown that exports of used EEE such as second hand computers or television sets to non-oecd countries are in fact often illegal. This is due to the fact that they are on purpose falsely declared as functioning. The European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management conducted an analysis of the Eurostat trade statistics on the export of colour TVs, freezers and refrigerators out of the EU for the year It is important to know that these statistics do not differentiate between new, used or waste products, considerably restricting the possibilities of distinguishing EEE from WEEE. The low value of these products exported to Africa and the Middle East indicates, however, that they were used or perhaps even WEEE and thus in part illegally exported (Ibid.:56-60). A study carried out for the Danish Environmental Protection Agency on exports of used electrical and electronic products indicates that the low value of the exported products give reason to believe that a portion of these exports is, in fact, illegally exported e-waste. If the Danish figures are multiplied to the level of the EU-25, these countries export around 200,000 tonnes of used computers, screens, monitors, TVs, deep freezers and refrigerators annually. Other types of used electrical and electronic products need to be added to this number (ECTS/RWM, 2008:54-56). A recent study conducted by Ökopol for the German Federal Page 14 of 99

24 Chapter 2: E-Waste and the EU Environment Agency examined exports of used EEE and WEEE to non-eu countries, mainly carried out via the Port of Hamburg. The analysis of the exports value indicates that large parts of the examined amounts were in bad condition. An unquantifiable amount of exports were marked as second-hand goods despite the fact that the products were clearly nonfunctioning (Sander & Schilling, 2010). Although evidence suggests that false labelling of products for reuse instead of for disposal currently represents a - if not the - major loophole for exporting WEEE to non-oecd countries (Interview IV), the lack of a distinction between new and used goods in statistics renders it extremely difficult to find any concrete numbers concerning the quality of e-waste exports. For this reason, we made the decision not to include this variable in our analysis of e- waste exports out of the EU. 2.4 LEGAL SITUATION The main purpose of this section is to provide an overview of existing legislation regulating e- waste in the EU, examine its enforcement and analyse its effect on e-waste practices within the EU and on exports out of the EU (Variable 5a). The results obtained will help us to draw conclusions on the Ban s overall effectiveness. Before detailing the legal situation in the EU, the section discusses the underlying reasons for transboundary movements of e-waste so as to achieve a better understanding of the driving forces behind the e-waste trade. As the interviews conducted also showed, reasons for transboundary e-waste shipments can be divided into economic, legal, enforcement and awareness issues. Economic reasons are the main driver for the illegal export of e-waste. On the one hand, a demand gap exists between countries at different stages of development. As a result, there is a high demand for end-oflife or second-hand products for recovery or recycling. These products are used for material input or to secure employment in the informal sector processing waste in non-oecd countries. On the other hand, different environmental, health, or labour standards for the disposal of waste create price gaps between countries, adding to the economic incentive to export e-waste out of the EU and treat it in less cost-intensive places. Difficulties with implementing existing legislation are connected with legal problems, enforcement difficulties and awareness issues. Page 15 of 99

25 Chapter 2: E-Waste and the EU Legal issues encompass, among others, the lack of a clear definition of what constitutes e- waste. Enforcement problems may arise due to the lack of capacity of border controls and the impossibility to check all exports and imports. Both of these matters will be dealt with in greater detail in the next section. Another reason for the occurrence of illegal exports is a lack of training, for instance for customs officers, to enforce exiting regulation effectively. Without specific training, actors involved in the e-waste business might not be aware of the necessity and importance to enforce requirements related to the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes (Basel Secretariat, 2009b:1-4; 2009c:13-14) THE WASTE SHIPMENT REGULATION As mentioned in the introductory chapter, the 1989 Basel Convention is the main instrument to control transboundary movements of hazardous waste at international level. The EU is party to the Convention and transposed it into community law with Council Decision 93/98/EEC and Council Regulation No 259/93 (the Waste Shipment Regulation, in the following referred to as WSR) in The main objective of the WSR is to control and regulate the supervision of waste shipments in order to prevent environmentally harmful waste shipments to countries without adequate provisions to deal with these wastes. Shipments of chemical waste or of hazardous electronic scrap are, for example, forbidden. The WSR represents the most important piece of legislation relating to waste shipments on EU level and is based on a system of prior authorisation. The regulation distinguishes between waste for final disposal and waste for recovery (recycling). The latter is again divided into a three-tier system based on the hazardousness of the waste: green (non-hazardous), amber and red-listed waste. Specific notification requirements apply depending on the waste s categorisation. The EU framework directive 75/442 contains the definition of waste and specifies recovery and disposal actions. The WSR prohibits the export of waste for disposal from the EU to non-oecd countries. In addition, Article 16 also proscribes the export of hazardous waste for recovery. Exceptions are made for countries to which the OECD decision 3 applies, countries that are party to the Basel Convention, and nations with which individual member states or the community has concluded bilateral agreements (ECT/RWM, 2008:14-15; IMPEL, 2004:7; Council Regulation No 259/93). 3 Council Decision C(92)39/FINAL, Decision Concerning the Control of Transfrontier Movements of Wastes Destined for Recovery Operations. Page 16 of 99

26 Chapter 2: E-Waste and the EU It needs to be borne in mind that e-waste is not per se or as a whole classified as hazardous. If classified as such or as waste for disposal, prior consent of all relevant authorities is needed for shipments between OECD countries to occur. The export of WEEE to non-oecd countries is not allowed. However, according to the WSR, quite a substantial part of e-waste is green-listed. This means that this waste may be exported to non-oecd countries under special provisions, depending primarily on the importing country s acceptance of such waste (ECTS/RWM, 2008:15). Although the Ban has not entered into force on a global level, the EU implemented the Basel export ban via an amendment to the WSR by Council Regulation 120/97. As of 1 January 1998, the regulation prohibits all shipments of wastes for recovery purposes and of hazardous wastes to countries that are not parties to the OECD Decision (IMPEL, 2004:8-9). In 2007, the WSR was replaced by the new Regulation No 1013/2006 in order to simplify control procedures, include changes in international law, and intensify cooperation between member states in the event of illegal shipments. The number of waste lists, for instance, was reduced to two instead of three; the amber list no longer exists. Also, member states are responsible for organising inspections throughout the waste shipment process (EC, 2006) WSR: ENFORCEMENT Although the WSR is directly applicable to all European member states, the responsibility of enforcing the provisions lies with each individual member state (IMPEL, 2006:14). Article 50 of the WSR states that [M]ember States shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable for infringement of the provisions of this Regulation and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented [ ]. As a result, as long as enforcement measures are not implemented in national legislation, a member state has no legal power to prosecute a violation of the WSR. Not all member states have transcribed such provisions into their national legislation yet (Interview I). An enforcement project (IMPEL 4 -TFS Seaport II project) carried out by 13 European countries under the umbrella of the IMPEL-TFS Network identified difficulties related to the enforcement of the WSR. Mainly, the study referred to a lack of capacity, vague legislation, lack of international and national knowledge exchange or cooperation, misinterpretations of concepts, and gaps in national law for enforcement in case of non-compliance. Most of these 4 IMPEL stands for Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law and is an international non-profit association of the environmental authorities of the Member States, acceding and candidate countries of the European Union and EEA countries. Page 17 of 99

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