United Nations

Recycling: From E-Waste to Resources

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Feb 22, 2010
Recycling: From E-Waste to Resources data sheet 2742 Views
Mathias Schluep, Christian Hagelueken, Ruediger Kuehr, Federico Magalini, Claudia Maurer, Christina Meskers, Esther Mueller, Feng Wang
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper
Publication Date: 
Jul 2009

Sustainable Innovation, understood as the shift of sustainable technologies, products and services to the market, requires a market creation concept and one common global agenda. The challenge is to raise awareness among all actors of the different sectors in order to realize the innovation potential and to shift to eco-innovations that lead to sustainable consumption and production patterns. 

Throughout this study prepared within the “Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative” the focus lies on a consistent set of different types of metals (ferrous and non-ferrous metals) such as aluminium (Al), copper (Cu), palladium (Pd) and gold (Au). Toxic and hazardous elements are present in e-waste, which are partially drivers for the implementation of sound collection and treatment processes. Therefore in the discussion of recycling technologies, the proper handling and treatment of such harmful elements to prevent environmental or health impact is included. Furthermore, the use and generation of toxic/hazardous substances during e-waste processing (for example, a mercury-gold amalgam or combined dioxins from inappropriate incineration) is critically evaluated with respect to the sustainability criteria for innovative technologies. 

The study, structured in three parts, has the following three main objectives: 

(1) Analysis of the market potential of relevant technologies for the e-waste recycling sector in selected developing countries, 

(2) Examination of the application of the ‘Framework for UNEP Technology Transfer Activities in Support of Global Climate Change Objectives’ in order to foster the transfer of innovative technologies in the e-waste recycling sector, 

(3) Identification of innovation hubs and centres of excellence in emerging economies relevant for e-waste recycling technologies.