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UN launches WEEE initiative - COMMENT UPDATE

A United Nations-led private/public initiative involving some of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world will promote the recycling of electronic waste, especially in developing countries, which often lack the expertise to undertake this often complex task.

The Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) group is being supported by Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Dell, Ericsson, Philips and Cisco Systems, and is coordinated by the United Nations University, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Academic bodies including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California, Berkeley and the Chinese Academy of Sciences are also involved.
StEP is developing a global guide to dismantling e-scrap while recovering and controlling valuable substances. A large-scale project to help China safely dismantle and dispose of its domestic e-scrap is being planned.

And StEP task forces will lobby for government reforms worldwide to promote re-design and product life expectancy, re-use and recycling, notably building relevant capacity in developing countries.

Theres more than gold in those mountains of high-tech scrap, said Ruediger Kuehr, of the United Nations University, which will host the StEP secretariat in Bonn. This partnership is committed to salvaging these increasingly precious resources and preventing them from fouling the environment.

He stressed the available precious metals within such waste: gold, palladium and silver, as well as rare metals crucial for electronics such as indium, and ruthenium. A StEP report noted that electronic items charitably sent to developing countries for re-use often ultimately remain unused or are shipped by unscrupulous recyclers for illegal disposal.

Comment:

19/3/07: This is an excellent development and a right StEP to eradicate electronic waste from the village(read world). It is a consolidated thinking without distinguishing country boundries. This method of solving the electronic waste problem is much more in favour of developing nations.This will bring down the prices of the commodities over a period of time with the utilisation of the cheaper resources. B K Soni +91 9867729662
Posted by B.K.Soni, Infotrek Syscom Limited

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