The UNU-IAS Operating Unit in Bonn, Germany (SCYCLE) is conducting a number of studies to quantify e-waste and provide those responsible with solid data and recommendations on how to improve their e-waste systems. In 2015, an over-arching global e-waste monitor has been published and received great media exposure over 70 countries in the world. The data will be updated to the StEP Ewaste Worldmap and discussions are going on for uploading the data to the online database of the Worldbank. Next to the global work, national studies have been conducted in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, France, and Portugal to name a few. In addition, for Romania an assessment is in inception stages. Based on this experience UNU-IAS is translating its own developed scientific models to applicable formats that can be used by non-academics. Further, the expertise and knowledge of UNU-IAS will be used to support better and faster understanding of the data. In addition, this project is contributing to the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, an international, multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the availability and quality of ICT data and indicators, particularly in developing countries. UNU-IAS currently contributes to the partnership in a task group on measuring e-waste. The overall objective of the task group is to support the compilation of reliable data on e-waste as a basis for political decision making and further action on the environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life ICT equipment. The immediate objective of the Task Group has been met, by developing e-waste statistics based on internationally defined indicators that have been consulted with experts in the field. The framework and guidelines have been published in January 2015.
The Partnership on Measuring ICT for development is aiming to create an internationally recognized framework for global statistics to evaluate the fate of electronic products and the resulting e-waste flows. This document has been gone through public consultation, and the approved version can be found here.
The central classification for e-waste are the so-called UNU-KEYS. The UNU-KEYS groups electronic products into homogeneous groups of average weight, market behaviour, and environmental relevance. UNU-KEYS has been developed as a backbone of data gathering and calculations. The international standardized Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, also known as the Harmonized System (HS) or tariff nomenclature, is globally used to classify traded products, including electronics. UNU-KEYS can be be linked to the HS codes, as well to other and relevant applicable legislation.