Environmentally Sound Management Throughout the Life Cycle of Electronic Equipment and Associated Wastes

The Challenge

China is considered the world’s largest current processor of e-waste derived from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling, accounting for approximately 70% of global generation. WEEE production in China reached 3.5 million tons in 2011 and the number is expected to soar as the result of economic growth. Currently the majority of WEEE and e-waste component has been collected and processed primarily by the informal resource recovery and recycling sector that typically utilizes crude, polluting technologies. This has resulted in the sector being associated with a range of serious environmental and health impacts including significant Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Persistent Toxic Substances (PTS) release, and further contributes to air, land and water contamination.

The Response

The proposed project is designed to help China fulfil the requirement of the Stockholm Convention and support the input of international experience and best practice into China’s aggressive policy efforts. Furthermore, the project aims to address this significant issue through development and implementation of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) based system for WEEE generally. Consistent with this objective, the project will address the POPs/PTS release sensitive e-waste stream in the recycling, dismantling, treatment and final disposal processes of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

The overall result of the project will be a Chinese domestic WEEE management system financed by a robust sustainable EPR mechanism and operating with BAT/BEP. This system will effectively maximizes the resource recovery potential available while eliminating the major environmental releases, particularly POPs releases currently attributed to WEEE processing by 2015.


The project has utilized internationally benchmarked regulations and technical standards to develop and improve an effective EPR system for WEEE with adaption to the situation in China, on the basis on a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework.

National technical standards have been adopted and implemented for effective WEEE management, particularly on POPs containing and releasing waste streams.

The volume of WEEE collected and processed by the formal sector has increased by 50% and the informal sector has moved towards a more organized and environmentally sounds structure, through targeted economic incentives and development of large formal WEEE processing facilities and an associated collection system.

Three types of WEEE collection and recycling were demonstrated and successfully completed at three selected locations.

Public awareness and capacity-building activities have also been conducted to promote implementation of national EPR system and solicit public participation, especially in relation to support for voluntary collection and early replacement. 

Who finances it?

Allocated Resources:                                      

In Kind Contributions:

GEF: US$ 11,650,000

Government: US$ 8,616,000

Private Sector: US$ 16,805,000

Private Sector: US$ 16,045,000

Other (Institutes): US$ 535,000 UNDP: US$ 100,000
  Bilateral Aid Agencies: US$ 59,000
  Others (Institutes): US$ 1,040,000

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