UNEP searches partner for regional circular economy study in the electronics sector
May 15, 2020
UNEP is looking for a partner from the Latin America and Caribbean region to develop a regional circular economy study in the electronics sector to develop a regional circular economy study in the electronics sector. This task take place under the UNEP project entitled “Global best practices on emerging chemical policy issues of concern under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM)”, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). One component of this project aims at increasing the ambition of different stakeholders to track and control chemicals along the value chains of the electronics sector.
Electronic products have become an essential part of daily life. At the same time, in many parts of the worldrapid replacement cycles have become the norm, with current disposal practices resulting in most of the energy, resources and value embodied in electronic products getting lost: Only 20% of 2016’s e-waste is documented to have been collected and recycled despite rich deposits of high-value recoverable materials. The majority of the amount likely ended up in incineration, in landfills, or treated by the informal sector. The unsound management of e-waste leads to loss of valuable resources; air, water and soil pollution to the local environment from hazardous substances; contamination of the global environment via release of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and mercury; and health risks to the informal workers and communities close to the toxic waste dump sites. A circular model for electronics will ‘close the loop’ through actions across the upstream, mid-stream and downstream of value chain, including designing for product lifetime extension, promoting repair and refurbishment and improving recycling. While general recommendations can be provided at a global level, specifics of transitioning towards a more circular electronics value chain have to be identified at regional level.