Call for Applications: StEP E-Waste Academy–Scientists Edition

The United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) has announced its call for applications for the StEP E-Waste Academy–Scientists Edition (EWAS).

Organised by the United Nations University under the aegis of the StEP Initiative, the EWAS has over the past three editions brought together nearly 60 young researchers from around the world, looking at solving the e-waste from different disciplinary perspectives. It has become the foremost forum available to young scientists to share their knowledge, interact with experts from academia, industry and policy and to develop collaborative partnerships.

Thanks to the generous support of SWICO Recycling, Dell, EMPA, Philips, Secretariat of the Basel Convention, Umicore and UNU, the EWAS2013 is set to take place in Switzerland, with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention hosting participants at the International Environment House (IEH) in Geneva.

The EWAS is open to PhD students, post-docs and early-career researchers from social and physical sciences investigating the political, social, economic, environmental, health or technological aspects of e-waste.

Topic areas include, but are not limited to:
• Transboundary e-waste flows, international e-waste governance
• Legislation review, policy & regulatory approaches & tools; standards
• Financing and business models; take back system design; reverse logistics
• Design for Re-use and Recycling (DfR) / Eco-design; corporate social responsibility (CSR); extended producer responsibility (EPR)
• Environmental & public health issues
• Consumer recycling / reuse/ disposal behaviour; consumer awareness campaign design and communication; marketing
• Technological developments in material recovery and disposal technologies; formal and informal recycling of e-waste;
• Critical raw materials in e-waste
• Modelling and forecasting methodologies

The deadline for submission of completed applications is July 31, 2013, with July 19th as the deadline for priority consideration for travel grants.

Please visit the website,, to download application documents and for more information on this and past years’ academies.

Email with any questions.

Thanks to Deepali Sinha-Khetriwal, EWAS Project Manager, for sharing this information with SEI.

State and Local Legislation Chart Updated

The “U.S. State & Local Legislation” chart, available within the Sustainable Electronics Initiative Law & Policy section, has recently been updated. The chart provides a list of U.S. states and municipalities where some form of legislation related to electronic waste (e-waste) exists, or has been proposed.

You may click on the name of each location to visit the site for the relevant environmental agency (e.g. the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality). Each entry includes the type of legislation (e.g. “e-waste” for e-waste recycling, collection, and/or disposal ban, or “disposal ban” if the legislation merely states that certain electronics may not be landfilled); whether or not the legislation is proposed and when it did or will take effect; when the bill was passed (if appropriate); and the devices covered.

If you click on “Download the Chart” right above the table, you will be taken to a printable PDF version of the chart, which further indicates for what types of entities the legislation provides free recycling and what entities pay for this recycling.

If you are aware of any updates that should be included on this chart, or on the “Federal,” “International,” or “Voluntary Initiatives” pages, please send your suggestions to Joy Scrogum.

Continuing the Conversation

Note: This post was written by SEI staff member, Amy Cade.

Last week we announced some highlights from our symposium held in February. Electronics & Sustainability: Design for Energy and the Environment elicited a frenzy of information and thought provoking ideas. An extensive amount of topics were covered through a variety of perspectives.

In hopes of continuing the discussion I plan on posting a multi-part series addressing different topics raised at the symposium.

The first of this series will continue the topic from a recent post: export.

Continue reading “Continuing the Conversation”

The Exportation of E-waste

Note: This post was written by SEI staff member, Amy Cade.

With a huge problem like e-waste it is hard to know where to begin.  Lets start by asking how much e-waste is exported.  Seems simple enough.  We can then decide if the exportation of e-waste should be of major concern.

The Basel Action Network (BAN) claims that the amount of e-waste being exported is big. In one of their videos, they vaguely implied that a lot of e-waste recyclers export the equipment they receive. They said, “plenty of companies…” “the vast majority…” and “all too often…” e-waste recyclers export computers.  BAN also interviewed a politician in Nigeria who estimated that 75% of the computer equipment that comes into his country is not in good enough shape for use and is therefore e-waste.

Continue reading “The Exportation of E-waste”

E-waste International

ewaste-computer-recycling-image[1]Note: This post was written by SEI staff member, Amy Cade.

As Aida mentioned in an earlier post, a lack of a global standard for e-waste is one of the biggest problems we, in the e-waste industry, have to deal with.  Inconsistencies between states, countries, and continents not only make it hard on the manufacturers but also on the well-intentioned collectors.

Sunil Herat, a senior lecturer in waste management at Griffith University in Australia, addressed this problem in a recent paper titled International regulations and treaties on electronic waste (e-waste).  Herat has given an overview of the different policies in different regions.  This post will be a summary and commentary of that document. Continue reading “E-waste International”

SEI Provides “Ask an Expert” Service

The Sustainable Electronics Initiative (SEI), hosted by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), is pleased to announce the availability of its online “Ask an Expert” service for the submission of questions related to electronics and their environmental impacts.

Questions related to electronic waste, or “e-waste” issues, sustainable electronics design, improving electronics manufacturing processes and related topics can be submitted via an online form available at SEI staff members will provide one hour of free Internet and/or literature searching related to your sustainable electronics question. Also provided is input from ISTC staff scientists and/or referrals to external contacts for further information on technical questions. Responses can be expected within a week (usually within 1-2 business days). Citizens, organizations, government agencies, businesses, non-profit groups, and academic institutions are all invited to use this free service.

The responses obtained from the Ask an Expert service are meant for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as endorsements by SEI, ISTC or any affiliated organization. Responses are also meant to be starting points for inquirers rather than definitive answers, advice or prescriptions for action. Inquirers must draw their own conclusions based upon the information provided.

In the near future, questions and answers received via this service will be archived and searchable on the SEI web site, An extensive collection of resources is also under development for the web site, and archived Ask an Expert questions and answers will be integrated into relevant resource collections.

According to the U.S. EPA, Americans own nearly three billion electronic products and continually purchase new ones to replace those deemed “obsolete,” even though about two-thirds of the devices are still in working order. As designers, manufacturers and the general public are becoming more aware and concerned about this issue, SEI’s Ask an Expert service will be one way to address concerns and assist in more sustainable practices.

SEI is a consortium dedicated to the development and implementation of a more sustainable system for designing, producing, remanufacturing, and recycling electronic devices. Members of the consortium include academia, non-profit organizations, government agencies, manufacturers, designers, refurbishers, and recyclers. Specific elements of the SEI include programs for research, education, data management, and technical assistance. SEI conducts collaborative research; facilitates networking and information exchange among participants; promotes technology diffusion via demonstration projects; and provides forums for the discussion of policy and legislation.

For more information on SEI, visit or contact Dr. Tim Lindsey, Associate Director of ISTC, at 217-333-8955 . For more information on the Ask an Expert service contact Laura Barnes, ISTC librarian at 217-333-8957.

ISTC is a unit of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Owner of EarthEcycle Speaks Out on Allegations Against Company

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