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Manual disassembly of computers and peripherals in Medellin, Colombia, as a social pilot project for sustainable e-waste management and recycling in a Latin American context

TitleManual disassembly of computers and peripherals in Medellin, Colombia, as a social pilot project for sustainable e-waste management and recycling in a Latin American context
Publication TypeProceedings Article
Year of Conference2009
AuthorsCadavid C, Ott D, Rodríguez S
Conference NameR'09 World Congress
Conference Start Date14/09/2009
Conference LocationDavos, Switzerland
Keywordse-waste, Latin America, manual disassembly, social project
AbstractLatin America is facing a rapid increase in computer sales. Penetration with electronic equipments has in some larger cities reached the level of OECD countries. There is an evident need to solve the management of “end of life” computers and other electronic equipment. The situation in Medellin, the second largest city of Colombia, isn’t any different. In this context, a group of entities from the private and public sector, are designing and implementing a management system for e-waste on a local scale. As leader of this group, the Cleaner Production and Environmental Technologies Centre, CNPMLTA, is leading this process in order to make an important contribution to the development of a sustainable e-waste management on a national level. The objective of the study is to test the feasibility of a local e-waste management system, which is mainly based on manual disassembly processes and designed to encourage the maximization of the equipment’s social reuse and refurbishment potential and the creation of semi- and low-skilled jobs along the recycling chain. Besides, this social and environmental pilot project is meant to serve as a replicable concept for other cities in the region. The social refurbishment component is carried out by “Computadores para Educar”, a highly experienced and most successful Colombian government initiative with the aim to supply public educational institutions (mainly schools) with information technology (IT), through the refurbishment and maintenance of computers. This study gives an overview on the status in the region, explains the challenges for establishing a local e-waste management system and shows the social and economic potential.
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Cadavid_2009_R09.pdf220.25 KB
Hernandez_2009_R09_slides.pdf2.08 MB
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