WEEE Forum expands on three continents in efforts to tackle global e-waste
The WEEE Forum, which represents e-waste Producer Responsibility Organizations around the world, is continuing to grow its global membership with the recent addition of new members from South America, Africa and Europe. The new members of the WEEE Forum are EcoCómputo and Red Verde from Colombia; ERA, South Africa; EEPA, Lithuania; and Ecolec, Spain.
With these new members, the WEEE Forum now has 43 members in total, at least one on every continent, and more than it has ever had before.
With worldwide e-waste levels continuing to rise by around 3% per annum - and expected to reach in excess of 74 million tonnes (Mt) in 2030, according to UN research - attracting these new organizations reflects the desire of the WEEE Forum to spread best practice, engage with actors in all parts of the world and the commitment of the growing global movement to ensuring that e-waste is collected and treated responsibly and in a manner that is not detrimental to people's health and the environment.
On announcing these new members, Pascal Leroy, Director General of the WEEE Forum said, "E-waste is increasingly being recognised as a priority waste stream across the world. Innovative organisations are being established that aim to put into practice Extended Producer Responsibility principles and lead the way in formalising e-waste collection, treatment and reporting in their countries.
"The WEEE Forum offers these organisations access to its network and knowledge base, and in return gains from these emerging PROs' new approaches and attitudes towards e-waste. We are pleased to be able to welcome new members in Colombia and South Africa on top of recent additions in Nigeria, India, Australia, and Canada, as well as new members in Lithuania and Spain that add to our strong European base."
According to the WEEE Forum, WEEE Producer Responsibility Organizations are emerging across the globe, often ahead of the implementation of legislation in the countries in which they are based, and because of this they are not only helping to shape collection infrastructure in their countries but are also able to influence how e-waste legislation is developed.
As a result, they are reaching out to the WEEE Forum to tap into the knowledge and experience of its current members, many of which have huge experience in operating under European legislation that has been in place for almost twenty years.
The WEEE Forum recently introduced an initiative for "twinning" new producer responsibility organisations with existing, more established, members so each can share knowledge, information and exchange staff, amongst other things. This supports the views of the European Parliament on the Circular Economy Action Plan, which urges producers to take responsibility for products sold into markets outside the EU and to develop consistent approaches worldwide.
Phil Morton, Global Ambassador of the WEEE Forum said, "Our efforts to reach out to stakeholders in the e-waste sector across the world is to ensure e-waste sits high on the global environmental agenda. PROs in countries that are developing producer responsibility regulations can benefit hugely from joining the WEEE Forum and tapping into our experienced network. This work also supports the WEEE Forum's stated aim of being the world #1 go-to competence centre for WEEE."
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.