On January 5, 2023, the Nigerian government announced a review of national environmental regulations to address the country’s long-lasting e-waste crisis. Nigeria is the largest gateway to the African continent for imports of electrical and electronic equipment. Annually, the country disposes and processes more than half a million tons of electronics and nearly 100,000 people make their living working in the electronics recycling sector.
The changes in the legislation were enabled by the Circular Economy Approaches for the Electronics Sector in Nigeria project, an initiative funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), led by UNEP and implemented by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency of Nigeria (NESREA).
According to NESREA Director General, Prof. Aliyu Jauro:
“The revised regulations bind all manufacturers and importers of electrical equipment, e-waste collection centres, and recycling facilities to register with the E-waste Producer Responsibility Organization Nigeria (EPRON), marking an essential step towards the operationalization of a financially self-sustaining circular electronics network.”
The European Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement to revise EU rules on batteries. The new set of rules is to account for the current technological development and future challenges and will cover the entire battery life cycle: from the extraction of raw materials, to industrial production, to end-of-life disposal.
Once approved, the new regulation will be applied to all batteries sold in the EU, from portable batteries in electronic devices, to batteries used in electronic vehicles, e-scooters, and e-bikes. Moreover, all batteries must display a ‘carbon footprint declaration’, outlining the carbon expended in production. Batteries will also be required to contain QR codes that link to the information related to their capacity, performance, durability, and chemical composition.
The agreement, which is yet to be formally approved by the Council and Parliament, relates to a proposal for a regulation on batteries and waste batteries put forward by the European Commission in December 2020.
The UK government’s annual Greening Government ICT report showed that well over 50% of e-waste that has been created by local government authorities is being reused. As the report indicates, out of 2.3 million kilograms of electronic waste created by departments, 1.25 million kilograms have been successfully reused or given to charity. Furthermore, over 45% of the waste was successfully recycled and recovered, leaving 36000 kilograms of electronic waste, by volume, on the landfill.
The report communicates that the strategy set out in 2020 – to have zero landfills by 2025 – is well on track, based on the data collected so far.
California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is planning to set in motion a new e-waste recycling program. Current recycling program has 37 siloed recycling applications. As department stated, the main issue with the current program is its inefficiency. The program is paper-based, which requires staff to spend almost half of their work time on data entry. As the activity of recyclers is expected to rise by 35% in the following months, CalRecycle suggested a more autonomous, software-based program. New program would focus on one enterprise-wide system that can track, regulate, and monitor recyclables. It is expected to lower the overall costs of recycling, while providing a more user-friendly experience.
British Metal Recycling Association (BMRA) stated that households should be banned from disposing electrical equipment, devices, and lithium-ion batteries in roadside collection bins. The warning from the Association came just a few days after several fires sparked, as assumed, due to poorly disposed batteries.
It is proposed that local governments introduce separate curbside collection sites, so all e-waste can be properly handled and disposed by professionals, completely removing domestic households from the equation in recycling batteries.