Regional E-waste Monitor on the Commonwealth and Independent States + Georgia, 2021


Giulia Iattoni,

E-waste constitutes one of the fastest growing waste streams in today’s global environment. Data on e-waste are required to evaluate developments over time, delineate national and international policies, limit e-waste generation, prevent illegal dumping, promote recycling, and create jobs in the recycling sectors. However, few countries collect internationally comparable e-waste statistics, and many countries lack the capacity to collect e-waste data at both the regional and national level. The Regional E-waste Monitor for the CIS + Georgia 2021 is the first assessment on statistics, legislation, and management infrastructure of e-waste in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The amount of e-waste generated in the region increased by 50 per cent to 2.5 Mt (8.7 kg/inh) in 2019. E-waste collection for environmentally sound management takes place in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine, and showed that 3.2 per cent of total e-waste are managed in an environmental sound manner. Some countries have no e-waste collection (e.g. Georgia, Kyrgyzstan) due to lack of organised separate collection infrastructure. Over 95 percent of e-waste in the region is not collected or sent to facilities for proper management: most e-waste ends up in landfills, with the informal sector cherry picking some valuable components. All twelve countries in the region have well-developed legal and regulatory frameworks in the field of waste management, and five of them (Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia) have established the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) systems for regulating e-waste. Armenia and Ukraine are in a drafting process of the EPR for e-waste, and Uzbekistan has e-waste legislation in draft development. Four countries in the region (Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan) do not have specific e-waste legislation in place. Thus, their e-waste is managed mostly through general waste laws or laws on hazardous waste management. Managing e-waste could be an economic opportunity for the region, as the e-waste generated in 2019 contained 10 t of gold, 0.5 t of rare earth metals, 1 Mt of iron, 85 kt of copper, 136 kt of aluminum, and 0.7 kt of cobalt, representing a total value of 200 billion Russian rubles (equivalent of $2.6 billion USD) of secondary raw materials. The hazardous substances in e-waste – comprising at least 2.4 t mercury, 1.1 t cadmium, 8.1 kt lead, and 4 kt brominated flame retardants – are poorly managed within the region and are most likely to be untreated, generating various risks to the stability of a healthy environment. The countries in the region will need to either introduce and enforce a robust legal and policy framework focused on environmentally sound management of e-waste, or monitor and reinforce existing systems to make them more efficient and effective. Adequate financing, monitoring, and cooperation of all stakeholders are essential for ensuring that the policies setup for e-waste management is sustained.



About the speaker

Giulia Iattoni is a Programme Associate at the Sustainable Cycles Programme, co-hosted by the United Nations University (UNU) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Giulia graduated cum laude in Environmental Engineering at the University of Bologna and spent a research period at the Technical University of Vienna, focusing on water quality and resources sustainability. Since 2019, Giulia has been involved on various projects on e-waste data collection and quantification, as well as on projects concerning the analysis of e-waste management models and related environmental impacts at the national and regional level. She is also designing and conducting workshops to build institutional capacity on e-waste statistics and legislation for several countries worldwide.



Venue: via Zoom (please contact us at seminars@merit.unu.edu for the Zoom link)

Date: 25 November 2021

Time: 12:00 - 13:00


UNU-MERIT