The E-Waste Problem
The generation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is on a global rise with an annual growth rate of four percent (Lundgreen, 2012). According to UNEP, (2005) environment alert bulletin 20 to 50 million tonnes of WEEE are generated world-wide annually. This growth rate is attributed to the evolution in the production of electrical and electronic devices which is the swiftest-growing sector of the production sector in industrialised countries (UNEP, 2005).
Also responsible for the rapid growth in production and consumption of EEE is the infiltration of product markets into developing countries as well as rapid evolution of products replacements in developed countries (Lundgreen, 2012). WEEE is consistently transferred from developed countries to developing nations for the indicated purpose of re-use. These re-use exports flaunted as a means to bridge the “digital divide” and fill the need of individuals in the developing world to be technology savvy could actually be a means of converting these developing nations to a “digital dump” (BAN, 2007).
EPR facilitates upstream improvements in the design and manufacture of products. Since EPR make producers responsible for the end of life (EoL) of their products, that way they are obliged to reduce the adverse environmental impacts that could be associated with their products during the design and production phase (OECD, 2001). EPR has therefore promoted the use of eco-design strategies to incorporate environmental considerations into product manufacture at the design stage (Lindqhvist, 2000). The specification of minimum recycling standards from EPR models has brought about the incorporation of recovered materials into production of new products and this conserves resources.