Welcome to eWASA
The e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) was established in 2008 to manage the establishment of a sustainable environmentally sound e-waste management system for the country.
Since then, the non-profit organisation has been working with manufacturers, vendors and distributors of electronic and electrical goods and e-waste handlers (including refurbishers, dismantlers and recyclers) to manage e-waste effectively.
With support from the Global Knowledge Partnerships in e-Waste Recycling programme, initiated by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by the Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (Empa), several projects were initiated successfully in three South African provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng) as early as 2004.
In addition, some international-based IT corporations showed increasing commitment in setting up and supporting initiatives nationwide to address the challenge of e-waste (being the fastest growing waste stream in South Africa) from an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) point of view. With eWASA formally established as a non-profit organisation and having officially received its mandate to develop integrated e-waste management solutions, our e-waste initiatives and networks continue to grow rapidly to fulfill the current demand for such services.
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E-waste is both valuable as a source for secondary raw material, and toxic if handled and discarded improperly. Rapid technology change, low initial cost and even planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast-growing problem of stock-piled and mismanaged around the globe. Technical solutions are available but in most cases, a legal framework, a finance model (ideally based on the polluter pays principle) a collection system, logistics and other services need to be implemented before a technical solution can be applied.
Due to lower environmental standards and working conditions in China and India, e-waste is being sent to these countries for processing – in most cases illegally (see www.ban.org). Bangalore in India and the Guiyu area in the Chaozhou region of China have e-waste processing areas. Uncontrolled burning and disposal are causing environmental problems due to the methods of processing the waste. Trans-boundary trade in e-waste between countries is controlled by the Basel Convention.
E-waste is of concern largely due to the toxicity of some of the substances if processed improperly. The toxicity is due in part to lead, mercury, cadmium and a number of other substances. A typical computer monitor may contain more than 6% lead by weight. Up to thirty-six separate chemical elements are incorporated into e-waste items. It presents difficulties for recycling due to the complexity of each item and lack of viable recycling systems. Many of the plastics used in electronic equipment contain flame retardants. These are generally halogens added to the plastic resin, making the plastics difficult to recycle.
Our Patron Members
eWASA can at the request of the Minister and industry prepare an integrated industry waste management plan for the industry ensuring that we can manage this waste stream effectively through an industry initiative while retaining control of the funds raised through a recycling fee to apply it effectively toward developing the e-waste management system.
Corporate and government clients need to ensure safe disposal of their equipment under the ISO 14000 requirement. As eWASA member, you can offer this service to your clients through our approved e-waste handler network.
Where can I recycle?
What is E-waste?
Why Should We Recover E-waste?
Possible Health Effects If E-waste Is Mismanaged
- Dust in indoor air generated in manual and mechanical dismantling processes (e.g. when processing plastics or Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) found in old TVs and Computer screens);
- Filter dust generated in the mechanical dismantling process;
- Noise emissions during the manual and mechanical dismantling process (conveyor belts, hammering, shredders etc.);
- Deviations from occupational safety standards;
Indirect impacts on human health may be caused by:
- Air pollution related to (HT) incineration (however the situation has been very much improved since waste gas purification systems are a common standard);
- Emissions due to transportation of materials;
- Contamination of water systems and soil near landfills.
The indirect impacts on human health are difficult to quantify, among others because of synergistic effects and the time-lag between exposure and reaction.