The pilot project E-waste Compensation as an International Financing Mechanism in Nigeria was initiated by the PREVENT Waste Alliance as a practical example of innovative and scalable solutions for building a circular economy. As a platform for knowledge exchange and international cooperation, it brings together organisations from the private sector, academia, civil society and public institutions along global value chains. The PREVENT Secretariat is managed by GIZ. The PREVENT Waste Alliance was launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
‘Recycling is also a question of social justice’
The Institute for Applied Ecology in Freiburg has been supporting a project on e-waste. Expert Andreas Manhart talks to Katrin Gänsler about insights, financing and responsibility.
How important is the policy aspect, for example legislation to regulate how e-waste is handled?
Lobbying is not in our remit. The decision on how to deal with locally generated e-waste has to be taken in Nigeria. It is important for us to demonstrate that this is a sector that only works properly with sound financing instruments. There is no miracle machine that can turn dirt into gold. It is not possible to wave a magic wand and recover valuable raw materials from plastics that are contaminated with flame retardants. Harmful materials have to be managed properly and this requires not only technical solutions but also funding.
Ultimately, this is a highly political issue: who should pay for e-waste to be recycled properly? If nothing is done, pollutants may be released, which means that people will ‘pay’ with their health. And it is the population groups that consume the least that are usually worst affected. So proper recycling is also a question of social justice.