Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Guidelines on what is e-waste under the Basel Convention

The Basel Convention regulates the movement of hazardous waste, including e-waste, across international borders. New draft technical guidelines are being prepared on the distinction between waste and non-waste used electrical and electronic equipment (22 December 2012). Australia contributed "Criteria for the export and import of used electronic equipment" from the Department of the Environment and Heritage, March 2005. The guidelines try to distinguish between used equipment destined to be repaired, refurbish or reused (which is not waste) and that which is to be disposed of (which is e-waste). This is a problem for authorities, as regulations on e-waste could be circumvented by simply labeling the material for reuse.
  1. To determine if equipment is waste it may be necessary to examine the history of an item and its proposed use on a case by case basis. However, there are characteristics of the equipment that are likely to indicate whether it is waste or not.
  2. Without prejudice to paragraph 26, where the holders of used equipment claim that this is intended to be or is a movement of used equipment intended for direct reuse and not e-waste, the following should be provided or be in place to back up this claim to an authority on its request (prior to the transport, either generally or on a case-by-case basis):
  3. a copy of the invoice and contract relating to the sale and/or transfer of ownership of the equipment with a signed statement that indicates that the equipment had been tested and is destined for direct reuse and fully functional and includes information on the further user or, where this is not possible, the retailer;
  4. evidence of evaluation or testing in the form of copy of the records (certificate of testing – proof of functionality) on every item within the consignment and a protocol containing all record information (see Section III C);
  5. a declaration made by the holder who arranges the transport of the equipment that none of the equipment within the consignment is waste as defined by national law of the countries involved in the movement1 (countries of export and import, and, if applicable countries of transit) and;
  6. appropriate protection against damage during transportation, loading and unloading, in particular through sufficient packaging2 and stacking of the load.

Testing of used equipment should be performed before shipment in the country of export. Except from the situations described in paragraph 26, all the above-listed criteria would need to be met for the used equipment not to be considered waste.

1 In case of disagreement on the status of the equipment being waste or not the procedure for the strictest interpretation (i.e. the procedure for shipments of waste) should be followed.
2 With regard to computing equipment, see the packaging guidelines developed under PACE. ...
From: Draft technical guidelines on transboundary movements of e-waste and used electrical and electronic equipment, in particular regarding the distinction between waste and non-waste under the Basel Convention, by the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG 8), 22 December 2012.

No comments: