E-waste is growing faster than any other waste stream, driven by a growing electronics market and the rising obsolescence rate of electronic equipment. E-waste is both a crucial environmental issue and an economic opportunity. The issues raised include:
- Inappropriate end-of-life management of e-waste can create toxic environmental impacts.
- Manual dismantling: persons dismantling electronic and electrical equipment manually may suffer health impacts.
- Landfill: toxic substances present in e-waste can contaminate water sources and ground soil.
- Incineration of e-waste plastics improperly generates harmful dioxins and other chemicals.
The growing e-waste economic opportunity is driven by:
- Valuable components and materials contained in electronic waste (e.g. gold, copper).
- New regulations and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes that ensure additional financing for collection and recycling activities.
With its national strategy now being implemented in a policy and legal framework to address the solid waste challenge, and with a formal sector agreement on e-waste in place, it is time for Brazil to consider its role as a large player in the e-waste global arena.