Groups kick off pilot E-waste compensation policy project in Nigeria


A group of environmental organisations in a virtual meeting on Tuesday 11 May 2021 kicked-off an e-waste compensation policy project that will support an environmentally-friendly collection and treatment of Li-ion batteries and flat panel display in Nigeria.

The pilot project, tagged “E-waste compensation as an international financing mechanism in Nigeria” (ECoN) is an 18 months project funded by the German PREVENT Waste Alliance and jointly implemented by Oeko-Institut e.V.(Germany), Closing the Loop(Netherlands), SRADev (Nigeria), Hinckley  Group (Nigeria)  and Verde  Impacto (Nigeria).

The ECoN project aims to expand a business model known as ‘waste compensation’. This proven international   financing   mechanism funds sustainable collection and treatment of e-waste from  countries  where  this  type  of waste  is  often  mismanaged.  Based  on  the notion  of  ‘buy  one  new  device,  fund  the collection  of  one  scrap  device’,  waste compensation has been widely adopted and, in  early  2020,  recognized  as  a  green  (or ‘waste-free’)   procurement   solution   for phones, laptops and tablets. This pilot aims to expand    that    product    range    to    include batteries and monitors. An  opportunity  is  created for  the  electronics industry  and  its  customers  to  participate  in this  project.

The project   aims   to   collect   and   soundly recycle 20 tonnes of batteries and monitors, while strengthening the local recycling sector in Nigeria.  It also aims to attract launching customers    for    waste    compensation    of monitors   or   batteries,   and   to   have   the compensation    of    monitors    or    batteries certified by an independent eco-label.

“If  effective  mechanisms  for  batteries  and monitors  can  be  piloted  and  demonstrated through the project, this could be scaled as a funding  mechanism  in  many  other  countries and  can  also  be  used  as  a  blueprint  for developing    local    policies    and    financing instruments in countries like Nigeria. This is a necessary,   innovative   first   step   towards establishing a long-term sustainable, inclusive     e-waste     recycling     in     partner countries. Finally, for the effective application of e-waste comparison  criteria,  a  broad  acceptance  by national and international civil society is key,” the promoter said.

Part of the goal of the project is to deliver on the growing global demand for more sustainable consumption of electronics, while strengthening the e-waste recycling sector in Nigeria. The project target groups include electronics industry and users of electronics, e-waste recycling companies and service providers, national and international decision-makers.

On why the pilot project is coming to Nigeria: E-waste   management   in   the   country   is infamous   for   heavy   pollution   and   human health risks.  It  is  generally  accepted  that sustainable  recycling  is  not  profitable  in  the given context.

Expected Solution: Create an additional source of income that can be used to finance sustainable recycling practices.

Activities: Research and development of pilot treatment options including funding mechanisms for two critical  e-waste  waste  streams:  lithium-ion batteries and flat panel displays.

Locally  adapted  techniques  are  needed  to recycle  batteries and  screens  in  Nigeria  and other  countries as  these  fractions  pose  a major  environmental  problem,  including  end of life batteries resulting from solar projects. The   project   will   investigate,   develop   and implement effective, environmentally friendly, inclusive solutions. Furthermore, the informal recycling sector will be involved e.g.  for  collection  and  possibly further  activities  in  disassembly  and  proper disposal of fractions of the electrical devices. By integrating the informal sector, a high local added value is achieved.

The PREVENT Waste Alliance serves as a platform for exchange and international cooperation. Organisations from the private sector, academia, civil society and public institutions jointly engage for a circular economy. The PREVENT members contribute to minimising waste, eliminating pollutants and maximising the reutilisation of resources in the economy worldwide.

They strive to reduce waste pollution in low-and middle-income countries and work together for the prevention, collection, and recycling of waste, as well as the increased uptake of secondary resources. This project was selected in a call for innovative and scalable solutions to build a circular economy. The PREVENT Waste Alliance was launched in 2019 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Other objectives of the Pilot Project are:

  • Advance the concept of waste compensation for brands and users
  • Collect 20,000 kg of waste batteries and flat panel screens
  • Advance solutions for waste Li ion batteries in Nigeria
  • Develop solution for waste flat panel displays in Nigeria
  • Process amounts of e waste (Li ion batteries, flat panel displays)
  • Capacity building in informal waste sector in Nigeria