The 2012 International Workshop on the Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

The BCRC-Caribbean recently participated in the 2012 International Workshop on the Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) held from 15th to 20th October 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan. The event was a joint initiative of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Environmental Protection Administration of Taiwan (EPAT).

The workshop served as a follow-up to the USEPA and EPAT co-hosted 2011 Electronics Management Dialogue held in Taipei; the first in a series of international activities focusing on e-waste. Upon the conclusion of the first workshop, there were three common challenges identified by participants with respect to the management of environmentally sound management of WEEE in their countries:
  • The need for policies, technology and facilities that support environmentally sound e-waste recylcing;
  • A lack of formal collection channels and related tracking and incentive systems; and
  • Transboundary movement of e-waste and related enforcement.

As such, the 2012 workshop was developed in order to further support environmental and other officials seeking to meet these pre-identified challenges to WEEE management. In addition, the workshop served to respond to the request of previous participants of obtaining more information on the Taiwanese WEEE management system. Therefore, the policy, technical and fiscal elements of Taiwan’s 4-in-1 recycling system were provided, in detail, to its participants. This included information on environmentally sound management of WEEE, elaboration of recycling policy and regulations, collection, auditing and certification, tracking and public awareness, among other topics.

Workshop participants following the formal opening ceremony
Altogether, there were international participants from 13 countries as well as participants from EPAT and the Taiwan Computer Association (TCA). During the workshop, these participants were privy to several presentations made on the components of Taiwan's recycling and WEEE management programme. The presenters and speakers included EPAT officials, academic experts and technical personnel from the recycling and waste management industry. Some of these speakers also provided guest presentations on e-waste management systems found throughout the wider Asia-Pacific region. Workshop participants were also able to present on the status, progress and future initiatives in the management of WEEE and recycling in their countries and/or region. All of these presentations can be downloaded here.

The presentations were supplemented with two days of site visits to WEEE and precious metals recycling organisations and collectors in Taiwan. These included the following facilities:
  • E&E Recycling Inc., Yangmei City - the first WEEE treatment / dismantling plant established in Taiwan as a result of a strategic affiliation of 12 major manufacturers of household electrical appliances in Taiwan.
  • Super Dragon Technology Company Ltd. - a private company involved in material recycling from waste IT equipment and specialising in the the recovery of precious metals from these substances.
  • Taoyuan County Recycling and Classification Plant - a privately run regional operation established by the Taoyuan County Government that collects and processes recyclable materials collected in the county.
  • Da Fon Environmental Technology Compnay Ltd., Taoyuan City - a privately owned collection facility that where recyclable wastes are brought in, sorted and disposed of by community residents for monetary returns.
  • Jhong-Sheng Village - A community where waste segregation and recycling stations have been developed by high-rise building communities and maintained by their Residents' Associations.
Items produced by Super Dragon Technology Company Ltd. from materials arising from waste electrical and electronic equipment (from left to right): construction materials and manhole covers, gold nuggets and artwork
Arising out of this workshop was an increased understanding of the Taiwan 4-in-1 recycling system and affiliated management of WEEE. Participants are now able to examine and utlise this understanding of the sub-components of the system in their own national and regional implementation of e-waste management and recycling systems. Furthermore, the workshop allowed for the establishment of an international network which the USEPA and EPAT will be developing via an online platform. This network and the platform will support the sharing of resources, information and future case studies in WEEE management and recycling that can be utilised by participants of this and other regional and international workshop.

For more information on EPAT, including its waste and recycling legislation and regulations, please visit its website http://www.epa.gov.tw/en/index.aspx. All of the presentations from the 2012 workshop are also available here for download and the BCRC-Caribbean report on the workshop can be found here.