BCRC-Caribbean Meeting with Trinidad & Tobago E-Waste Recyclers

The BCRC-Caribbean hosted a meeting at its premises on July 11th 2012 with recyclers of waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE or e-waste) in Trinidad and Tobago. It facilitated the discussion and sharing of opinions on what the E-waste recycling industry in Trinidad and Tobago needs from Government in terms of an enabling policy framework.

The meeting was held in anticipation of the BCRC-Caribbean's participation at the UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) Multi-stakeholder Policy Dialogue entitled ‘Addressing E-waste Challenges and Opportunities through Public-Private Sector Cooperation’. Therefore, it encouraged discussions on how the national policy framework for the recycling industry can be developed as it pertains to improving and sustaining private sector investment into 'green' recycling operations.

Representatives from three recycling firms in the country willingly participated in the meeting. These companies were: Caribbean Tech Disposals, Piranha International Limited and Secure Recycling Limited. In addition, representatives from the Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) and the Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD) also took part in the discussion. This allowed for both private and public sector interests, initiatives and concerns to be disclosed in one forum.

The meeting consisted of a wide range of discussion points ranging from previous to future national e-waste management and policy initiatives and plans. The private sector recyclers also provided their individual perspectives of the existing e-waste management scenario and practices as well as their own ideas on the initiatives that should be taken at the national scale. The issue of the role of international manufacturers and local distributors in the national policy and planning context was a major concern for the recyclers in the context of extended producer responsibility (EPR) at the local level.

At the end of the meeting, the main short-term requirements expressed by the recyclers with regards to e-waste-management initiatives included:
  • A clarified definition of e-waste which included white waste;
  • The development, promulgation and enforcement of national legislation and regulations in order to promote proper disposal of these wastes;
  • Creation of incentives, especially tax incentives; and
  • Development of guidelines, regulations and licensing systems to ensure the use of environmentally sound practices by recycling companies.
The detailed description of the discussion points raised during the proceedings can be obtained in the  final minutes of the meeting.

The outcomes of this meeting formed as direct inputs into the BCRC-Caribbean position paper on the views of e-waste recyclers in the Caribbean. From this meeting and the subsequent paper, the BCRC-Caribbean will be able to ensure that the Caribbean perspective is taken into consideration during the preparation of the 'Call of Action' coming from the meeting to be held in Osaka. This Call for Action would then outline possible steps for establishing and managing effective and efficient public-private cooperation in the management of e-wastes and end-of-life e-goods.