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Environmentally Sound International Electronics Recycling Programs

International Associations Promoting Responsible Electronics Recycling

There are a number of international initiatives geared towards addressing the human health and environmental issues posed by the unsafe management of used and end-of-life electronics and electrical equipment.

  • Basel Convention Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE)
  • Basel Convention Technical Expert Group
  • United Nations University's Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative

Sims is actively involved in these international initiatives and networks, promoting responsible electronics recycling worldwide.

+PACE

Basel Convention Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE)

The Basel PACE is the second public-private partnership launched by the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement and Control of Hazardous Wastes (www.basel.int) under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The PACE is undertaking a number of activities geared towards promoting the environmentally sound management and transport of used and end-of-life computing equipment. The PACE activities include the development of technical guidelines addressing transboundary movement, certification programs, reuse and refurbishment, and recycling of computing equipment; implementing pilot projects on collection geared towards the informal sector in developing countries; and various public awareness activities. Sims has served as Co-Chair of the Recycling Guideline and the Pilot Project workgroups. The PACE succeeded the Basel Mobile Phone Partnership Initiative.

+Basel Convention Technical Expert Group

Developing a Framework for the Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and Other Wastes

In 2009, the governments of Indonesia and Switzerland organized a “Country-Led Initiative” (CLI) to discuss issues related to the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes, especially to “vulnerable” developing countries ill-equipped to manage such shipments in an environmentally sound manner, despite the existence and objectives of the Basel Convention.  As a result of this three year process, the Basel Convention Council of the Parties mandated, among other things, that the Basel Parties establish a technical expert group to develop a multi-disciplinary framework, consisting of regulations for the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes, including consideration of ways in which the framework and its elements might be linked to the transboundary movement of hazardous and other wastes.  Sims participates as an observer in this Basel Technical Expert Group.

+ Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative

StEP

The StEP (www.step-initiative.org) is an initiative of various UN organizations who share a common goal of solving problems posed by unsafe management of e-waste. The StEP works with prominent members from industry, governments, international organizations, NGOs and academia to initiate and facilitate approaches towards the sustainable handling of e-waste. The Step has grown to a 50+ membership since it was launched in late 2004.  The StEP includes five Task Forces that seek just and environmentally safe solutions for the e-waste problem through analysis, planning and pilot projects. These Task Forces include Policy; ReDesign; Reuse; ReCycle and Capacity Building.  The analysis and dialogue that characterize the work of the PACE is conducted from a neutral, scientific-based standpoint, as it seeks to find solutions which reduce environmental risk and enhance development. Sims has been participating actively in the StEP since its inception.

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