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eWASA- Paving the way towards Environmentally Sound e-Waste Management for South Africa

Last week the e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) has been be formally established as a Section 21 company. eWASA will be responsible to set-up an environmentally sound waste management system for all types of e-waste generated in the country.

 

eWASA is an initiative supported by the Information Technology Association (ITA) which has been working closely with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) to study the situation of e-waste recycling in developing and transition countries (of which South Africa is one of the partner countries). EMPA's international "Knowledge Partnership in e-Waste" programme has had successes in many countries towards finding local, economically viable solutions for the responsible management of e-waste.


The South African project team under the ITA owes much of its early successes and in particular the formal establishment of eWASA (as another important milestone for progress) to a group of dedicated concerned individuals who worked mostly on a voluntary basis to start e-waste recycling initiatives and build recycling networks.


Locally the focus is on the development of viable business models which ensures the management of e-waste along a value added process model thereby maximizing opportunities for refurbishment, repair, reuse, recycling and new product development from e-waste components while providing opportunities for entrepreneurial activities based on job creation and poverty alleviation. All local initiatives are designed as to remain in line with the waste minimization efforts of the government and international treaties such as the Basel Convention.


eWASA is proud of its first three regional e-waste portfolio groups and the work they have done so far. In Cape Town, Ms Susanne Dittke has been working with other stakeholders on the establishment and internal networking of various local e-waste collection, reuse, rework and recycling initiatives (for different types of e-waste) towards the development of blueprint strategic models that can be applied to other regions.


The e-waste recovery facility in Maitland seeks firstly to repair and reuse ICT equipment wherever possible with recycling only as a last resort. The method of recycling incorporates existing manual processes but transforms them into sustainable and environmentally sound operations. Dismantled parts of electronic devices include plastics and metals that can be reused to make new electronic devices or other products. Local artists use some of the non-recyclable materials to create works of art including clocks and fashion items such as belts and jewellery. Toxic components derived as part of the dismantling activities such as the lead containing CRT monitors are disposed of in a hazardous landfill site.


A private sector donor has given the Cape Town facility the funds to operate until October, when it plans to become self-sufficient.


Ms Mbaweni Manqele coordinates the KwaZulu-Natal effort. The main recycling partner for the region is Re-ethical who has a track record of environmentally sound waste management practices. Mba is working closely with the Provincial and Local government officials both from Ethekwini Metro and Umgungundlovu District, Environmental NGO's and parastatals. KZN Department of Agriculture is in the process setting up a Dismantling and Recycling facility at its Head Office, Cedara. This is done in cooperation with the provincial coordinating office of eWASA. It is hoped that this model will be a ‘blue print' for other projects in the province. The necessary Monitoring and Evaluation tools will be developed to monitor this project once established.


Similar processes are also under discussion within the eThekwini Metro and Umgundundlovu District Municipality to support the ewaste recycling initiatives. The main focus for KZN is raising awareness with the hope that stakeholders will learn and set up their own internal initiatives to manage ewaste responsibly.

 

The Gauteng e-Waste Portfolio Group is working with e-waste recyclers and municipalities in the provinces to set-up a reliable collection system. Pikitup now offers e-waste drop-off centres at all their Garden Refuse sites in and around Johannesburg. Local entrepreneurs collect the waste which is sorted, dismantled and passed on to legitimate e-waste recyclers. The hazardous components are disposed of responsibly in the hazardous landfill site at Holfontein.
Several of the large e-waste recyclers in Gauteng are part of the project and provide a service that is equal to the best in the world. To contact your nearest recycler please contact eWASA or browse either www.ita.org.za or www.e-waste.org.za for a list of responsible service providers countrywide.

 

For more information contact:
Lene Ecroignard
eWASA: Project coordinator
T: 082 478 7075
F: 086 605 8141
Email: lene@ewasa.org
www.e-waste.org.za
eWASA

 

 


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