Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative

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    Project Manager :
    Ruediger Kuehr

    Your computer, cell phone, and anything else with a plug or battery will eventually become electronic waste. Each year, we throw away 47 million metric tonnes of toxic garbage globally. That’s the same weight as the Pyramid of Giza, 10 Titanics, 50 Empire State Buildings and 50 Burj Khalifas combined, every single year.

    E-waste is one of the largest and most problematic waste streams in the world today. The StEP Initiative is a collaborative, global effort to dramatically reduce e-waste through policy change, product re-design, re-use, recycling and capacity building.

    The StEP Initiative seeks to:

    • foster solutions-oriented dialogue, cooperation, and consensus by providing a global platform for scientific knowledge sharing
    • work internationally with a broad range of partners to develop effective policies to stimulate practical, measured, and effective responses to e-waste prevention (including enhanced product design, repair, and refurbishment; improved management systems; and augmented recycling capacity)
    • lead e-waste management discussion worldwide by providing a scientific basis to inform and change international business and consumer behaviour

    Led by United Nations University-hosted SCYCLE (“Sustainable Cycles”) programme, the StEP Initiative has more than 60 members from all sectors, including UN Environment, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Japan Ministry of Environment, Cisco, Dell, HP, Ericsson, Microsoft, Philips, Umicore, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).