Visionary Paper

The Step Inititiative - Always stay informed

With the visionary paper StEP looks beyond daily routines and into future challenges and opportunities in the sector of e-waste management. It anticipates to initiate first public discussions in this area and making it possible for governments and companies to address it in their political agendas at an early stage.

The project targets to develop a high-level StEP White Paper addressing how the following questions will impact the e-waste challenges:

  • What happens if we continue business as usual or move into an ideal world and how would this one be looking by? Will the dumping in developing countries continue? In how will the domestically generated e-waste challenge in developing countries look like? Will we run out of necessary resources for keeping our production chains?
  • What happens if we get regulations and schemes everywhere in place and enforced? Will weight based target remain appropriate against the lighting but complexing of products?
  • What happens if circular economy, zero emissions, dematerialization is more and more implemented?
  • What happens against shrinking and increasing resources prices, especially also considering the change of composition of EEE over time?
  • What will happen with labor price over time?
  • What is going to happen to the design of products over time? Will they be designed better for longevity, for reuse and component-/material-recycling? How will the recycling technologies adjust accordingly?
  • In how can better shipment codes for used equipment also help in tracking and finally treating products at end of life?
  • How will the material composition change keeping in mind that eg more and more wearables become smart and will include electronic components? How will the ownership / responsibility for recycling those goods look like?

Project lead: Ruediger Kuehr, UNU

Project members: Empa, Memorial University, BCCC China, DRZ, University of Southern Denmark, Limerick University, Philips, NCER