„However, this back and forth is a huge challenge for the European recycling industry. In order for the recycling industry to be sustainable and work in the long term, it needs a certain minimum of legal consistency and stability,“ explained Chris Slijkhuis in his IERC presentation.
Swiss-Ghana: Right theoretical intention, but impractical demand
However, the central point of his presentation in Salzburg dealt with the so-called „Swiss-Ghana Proposal“, which was adopted at the COP (Conference of the Parties) of the Basel Convention in June 2022 in Geneva. The countries of Switzerland and Ghana had presented a proposal according to which all waste electrical and electronic equipment should be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner and processed according to state-of-the-art technology. „Swiss-Ghana cites the fact that there is currently still a lot of green-listed e-waste that can be shipped across borders without the permission of the competent authorities. In practice, this means that a lot of old electronics are put into a container and sent to Africa under the motto „You can still use that!“. In reality, however, it is e-waste. And this must be prevented in order to reduce the risks for people and the environment! Isn't that exactly what we want?“ MGG-expert Slijkhuis asked the audience ironically in Salzburg. According to the Swiss-Ghana proposal, a new Y49 entry would replace the existing Basel codes B1110 and B4030. Y49 includes the requirement that all fractions defined as e-scrap need a notification. This should make it possible to check that the e-scrap always goes to the right recyclers who process it in a technologically correct way. „In a nutshell, this change means that in the future, non-hazardous e-waste and fractions thereof will also have to be notified in the event of a cross-border shipment. The question is, however, whether the authorities will be able to process this flood of additional notification applications. Because there are too few resources available for this in most EU countries,“ Slijkhuis said.