Posted on 29/01/2018 in category Environment

United Nations Environment Programme - Expert Working Group on the development of the e-Waste Technical Guidelines

UN-EP Basel Convention “Technical Guidelines on Transboundary Movements of Electrical and Electronic Waste and Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment, in particular regarding the distinction between Waste and Non-Waste under the Basel Convention.”


The first face-to-face meeting of the Expert Working Group for the further development of the e-Waste technical guidelines took place from 25 January to 26 January 2018 at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. BIR thanks China and Japan for funding the meeting and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and the Basel and Stockholm Convention Regional Center for the Asia and Pacific Region in China for organising the meeting. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Yang Zheng, Division Director, Deputy Secretary General of the Solid Waste and Chemicals Management Center of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, China and Ms. Magda Gosk, Director of Department of Waste Management, Ministry of Environment, Poland.

The objective of the meeting was to advance the work on further developing the technical guidelines on transboundary movements of electrical and electronic waste and used electrical and electronic equipment, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste under the Basel Convention. The Expert Working Group comprises representatives from countries from the five UN Regions: Asia and Pacific; Africa; Latin America and the Caribbean; Western Europe and Others; and Central and Eastern Europe. Observers are BIR Trade & Environment Director Ross Bartley and BIR members: Sims Recycling Solutions and China Scrap Plastics Association (CSPA) together with manufacturers such as: Apple; Canon Inc; Cisco Systems, Inc.; Fuji-Xerox Co., Ltd.; Hewlett-Packard Co., Ltd.; IBM; Mitsubishi Electric Corporation; Sony Corporation; and their representatives: ITI, Digital Europe etc., and the environmental group Basel Action Network (BAN).

The Technical Guidelines on transboundary movements of electrical and electronic waste and used electrical and electronic equipment, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste under the Basel Convention, was adopted, on an interim basis by the Basel Convention Parties (Countries) in 2015 [Download]. In 2017, the Basel Convention Parties established an Expert Working Group to undertake further work on the technical guidelines that were adopted on an interim basis in 2015 and the government of China offered to lead the work.

The first face-to-face meeting sought to resolve issues as:

ISSUE 1 - Party notifications as per paragraph 27 and 29.  Suggested text on BIR members only website

ISSUE 2 - Residual life time and age of used equipment.  Suggested text on BIR members only website

ISSUE 3 - Obsolete Technologies including Cathode Ray Tubes.  Suggested text on BIR members only website

ISSUE 4 - Identification of relevant actors in the transfrontier movement documentation.  Suggested text on BIR members only website

ISSUE 5 - Specific exemption for medical devices.  Suggested text on BIR members only website

ISSUE 6 - Specific exemption for used parts.  Suggested text on BIR members only website

ISSUE 7 - Waste resulting from failure analysis, repair and refurbishment activities. Suggested text on BIR members only website

The Expert Working Group was preceded by a European Union funded forum on Transboundary movements under the Basel Convention. The forum focused on disseminating the aforementioned technical guidelines on transboundary movements of e-wastes.

Next steps: The deadline for comments on the text proposals for Items 2, 3, 5 and 7 is until end February 2018 so these may be compiled by mid-March 2018. BIR is concerned its member companies are treated equally to brand name companies regarding direct reuse, repair, refurbishment and reuse after, and that BIR member companies can comply with the requirements of this guideline and so invites members to contact BIR Trade & Environment Director Ross Bartley (rbartley@bir.org) with reasoned explanations if any specific requirements in this Guideline will prevent business.