Piloting of treatment solutions and innovative finance models for problematic e-waste fractions

Frankfurt • 14. October 2020

Piloting of treatment solutions and innovative finance models for problematic e-waste fractions

In July 2020 Landbell Group started work on an assignment to develop and pilot solutions for treating problematic e-waste fractions for recyclers in Latin America, the Balkans and East/West Africa. Together with the PREVENT Waste Alliance E-Waste Working Group, the project will also scope out and apply innovative finance mechanisms to cover the treatment costs.

One of the priorities of the PREVENT Waste Alliance’s E-Waste Working Group is to tackle the worst polluting e-waste fractions. In many low- and middle-income countries there is no local treatment facility to manage various e-waste types, which may pose particularly large environmental risks. This is due to lacking access to technology or suitable local or international offtaker markets.

At the end of 2019, the PREVENT E-Waste Working Group exchanged with formal recyclers in low- and middle-income countries to determine their main challenges. E-Waste fractions such as e-waste plastics, batteries, lamps, displays and PUR insulation foams from refrigerators present major issues. Often specialized infrastructure and techniques to treat these fractions are needed, and this treatment is often associated with net recycling treatment costs. To advance this work, the PREVENT Secretariat, hosted by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), decided to tender a consulting assignment in the Working Group with the aim of:

  1. Providing recyclers in Latin America, East and West Africa, and the Balkans with advisory support, matchmaking with international recyclers and developing solutions for handling these fractions. This will take place through remote calls and regional trainings.
  2. To pilot solutions for three of these fractions in different countries to determine real costs for treatment (either developing a local treatment solution, or preparing for shipment and export to an appropriate recycling facility).
  3. To scope out and pilot innovative financing mechanisms to cover the costs of the treatment solutions. These will be applied in the treatment pilots.

The 18-month assignment to carry out this work was awarded to Landbell Group, who started work in July 2020. The aim of this project is to achieve better e-waste treatment in low- and middle-income countries, where extended producer responsibility legislation is not yet in place. Approaches will be developed which can be replicated, and ideally, if viable financing mechanisms can be proven, also provide a long-term solution for problematic fractions in diverse contexts. The activity takes advantage of the expertise of many different actors along the e-waste value chain in the PREVENT Working Group, ranging from producers through to end-refineries.


Photos of problematic e-waste fractions: GIZ | Daniel Hinchliffe