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LaWEEEda Latin American – European network on e-waste opens training centres

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The sound management and treatment of e-waste in Latin America has become a topic of growing concerns. As in other parts of the world, there is an increasing number of devices used in households and industry, leading to a growing amount of end-of life electrical appliances. In most countries in Latin America this waste stream is not regulated yet, some countries just recently started to develop legislation and monitoring. An example is Brazil, where a National Policy on Solid Waste was put in force in 2010, as a next step for e-waste a sectoral agreement has been developed, however this process took until 2019 and is not finalised yet. Beside this, infrastructure for waste collection and treatment is lacking and the informal recycling sector dominates collection and partly also treatment of e-waste. This leads to “cherry picking”, where only the valuable part of e-waste is recovered, while the rest ends up in dumpsites or is littered. The practices of the Informal Recycling Sector are partly polluting and pose threats to the health of workers and neighbours.

Against this background, the LaWEEEda project was started three years ago, aiming to establish a network of e-waste related education and cooperation between seven Universities from Europe and Latin America. In Brazil UNESP and UFRJ are the partner Universities, in Nicaragua the partners are ULSA and UCAN, both in Leon. They get support from TU Hamburg (Germany), University of Northampton (UK) and BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Science (Austria), the latter coordinating the project. Additional four business partners contribute with practical experience and market knowledge, ensuring tailor made training programs. The main outcome are 4 training centres at the partner Universities in Brazil and Nicaragua.

These training centres are dedicated to practical and theoretical education with all topics along the recycling chain of e-waste, from waste generation, re-use and repair to collection, dismantling, recycling and disposal. Beside technical aspects the training also covers entrepreneurship and business administration as well as safety and occupation health. There are two target groups for training: experts and practitioners from industry, trade, public institutions which need specific know-how in handling this material stream (CPD continuing professional development). Secondly the e-waste topic will be integrated into the educational programs of the Universities involved, in most cases in curricula for engineers, providing more theory and background, but also practical training.

As project outcomes, extensive training materials are available, in Portuguese and Spanish as well as a version in English. Additional to this, educational videos with instructions for the dismantling of e-waste have been produced in cooperation with DRZ, Vienna. These videos also are available in the three languages. The training centres have been opened officially in September 2019 with opening ceremonies. More details about the project and future trainings are available at the project website.

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Contact: Stefan Salhofer, University of Natural Resources and Life Science Vienna
Project co-funded by ERASMUS+


Opening ceremony LaWEEEda training center in Leon, Nicaragua

LaWEEEda training center in Rio de Janeiro

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