AFRICA E-WASTE MD, Ulze van Wyk, says the survey will investigate whether South African organisations understand the nature of E-WASTE; what are the laws regarding dumping of E-WASTE; and whether they are aware of legislation that has been passed regarding E-WASTE.
This survey will also question companies on how they are disposing of their E-WASTE. “It will investigate if these companies have someone collecting the electronic waste; what they are doing with it; and if they supply auditable reports,” she adds.
According to Van Wyk, an international treaty – the Basel Convention – was signed to reduce the movements of E-WASTE between nations, and specifically to prevent the transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries.
This treaty protects countries like SA from becoming E-WASTE dumping sites, she says. “The Basel Convention also stops developing countries from importing e-waste from other countries and recycling it correctly.”
However, she says there are companies importing old IT equipment to the SA market.
“I believe we have enough equipment in SA to feed our own market. We only need to get more companies to refurbish their equipment and stop importing used electronic products in our market.”
AFRICA E-WASTE found there was a great need in both the South African and African market for companies and individuals to have their electronic waste disposed of in both a legal and environmentally-friendly way.
To address this, the E-WASTE Association of SA (eWASA) was established to manage the establishment of a sustainable environmentally sound E-WASTE management system for the country.
According to Van Wyk, this organisation is actively doing its bit to educate and market green refurbishing and recycling strategies in the country.
There is a big market in Africa where E-WASTE companies can help the continent in refurbishing and recycling equipment in an environmentally-friendly manner, she says. “SA can be the example on how to do it correctly in Africa and offer help in setting up the centres in other countries.”
A report titled 'Recycling – from e-waste to resources' by UNEP predicts that in SA, by 2020, E-WASTE from old computers will have jumped by 200% to 400% from 2007 levels.
The E-WASTE surge forecast in developing countries is influenced by rocketing sales of cellphones, gadgets and other appliances, it says.
Unless action is taken to properly collect and recycle materials, many developing countries face the spectre of hazardous E-WASTE mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health, says the UN.
The global organisation says refurbishing, reuse and extending the life cycle of electronic products is an important way to reduce E-WASTE.