New global e-scrap standard in preparation

Supporters of a global e-waste recycling effort say it can help ensure high-quality end-of-life treatment processes. | scientific photo / Shutterstock

The International Electrotechnical Commission has launched a process in recent months to create a global standard for the management of electronic waste.

IEC, a Geneva-based non-profit organization that focuses on standardizing the electrical and electronic products industry, last fall written about the project, which was still under consideration at the time.

“There is a need for a global baseline scenario on handling and preparing for reuse of e-waste,” the organization wrote, citing Christian Dworak, the e-scrap standard project leader. “In order to take full advantage of a circular economy, we need to focus on setting up high quality end-of-life treatment processes. “

The standard is being created within the framework of the IEC Technical Committee 111, which focuses on “environmental standardization of electrical and electronic products and systems”. The committee launched work objects focusing on a variety of electronics durability topics in recent years. For example, it has a work element to provide “guidance on material circularity considerations in environmentally conscious design”, another to develop a “general method of assessing the proportion of components reused in materials. products ”, and more.

In January, the technical committee went beyond the study phase by circulating a work proposal on “the sustainable management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (e-waste)”. The project comes after the committee hosted a “workshop on a new global standard for e-waste” last July, according to committee documents.

In May 2021, the committee voted 20-2 to move the project forward, with delegations from China and Japan voting against the decision. The American delegation, which is coordinated by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), voted in favor.

The committee is expected to produce a draft standard for publication in March 2022, according to the IEC database. Ultimately, the standard has a forward release date of March 2024.

Documents providing further details on the process and the proposed standard were not publicly available to the IEC, and US delegates to the committee could not be reached by E-Scrap News.

The British Standards Institution, the UK’s national standards body, provided some additional details about the project.

“This standard aims to facilitate the systematic and sustainable management of waste electrical and electronic equipment,” wrote the British Standards Institution, adding that such a standard would help prevent shipments of electronic waste to “operators whose operations are not not in accordance with this normative document or a comparable set of requirements ”, among other positive impacts.

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