On June 21st, 30 participants brought their expertise from academia, non-governmental organizations, industry, and US government agencies to collaboratively work towards the development of qualitative and quantitative characterizations of used electronics exports. The day-long workshop, funded by StEP, was hosted at the US EPA Office of International and Tribal Affairs in Washington DC, and was organized by researchers at the MIT Materials Systems Laboratory and National Center for Electronics Recycling.
Overview presentations were made describing the framework for the qualitative and quantitative characterizations under development as well as prior work in the field. Participants were encouraged to offer suggestions and critical feedback on proposed methodologies, and spend time in smaller groups discussing subsets of methodologies in detail. The workshop concluded with a rejoining of the smaller groups for a discussion of findings and a “vote” for which proposed methodologies showed the most promise. Popular methodologies included electronic tracking of used electronic equipment, qualitative case studies from recent history, observers in port, and bill of lading information.
In mid-August, a thorough report will be released describing prior methods and suggested approaches. The report will incorporate outcomes and information shared during workshop discussions.