Organised by Metamorphosis Foundation in cooperation with Computer Aid International, the event  was attended by leaders of the BEWMAN partner NGOs, which are from Macedonia (Metamorphosis), Serbia (Protecta), Bulgaria (BlueLink), and Croatia (Zamirnet).

Identifying problems

Haley Bowcock (of UK-based Computer Aid International) led the training, which transferred knowledge and lessons learnt from the EU and elsewhere in the field of e-waste management and advocacy. The BEWMAN partners will now be able to transfer the knowledge and skills acquired to the members of the respective national networks that are involved in BEWMAN’s work.

Besides the project partners, two external experts attended the training, giving interactive presentations on their work and expertise in the area of e-waste management. These were Stephane Arditi, Waste Policy Adviser, European Environmental Bureau (based in Brussels) and David Rochat, formerly of EMPA, now a consultant from SOFIES (based in Geneva) with specialised experience in e-waste management in developing countries.

Some of the key messages highlighted in the training included:

  • E-waste is the most rapidly-growing of all the waste streams
  • Poor electronics design means that e-waste is toxic and more difficult to manage than many other wastes
  • Poor e-waste management can pollute the environment and damage the health of citizens across the region
  • E-waste contains many valuable materials and safely recovering these provides job and wealth creation opportunities for the region
  • Actions like making electronics producers responsible for their equipment over the full product life cycle, and encouraging consumers to reuse functional equipment and keep e-waste out of landfill can minimise the environmental and health impacts of electronics

The next steps in the BEWMAN project are to disseminate national research (which investigated the e-waste situation in each of the partner countries) and to conduct a series of national public events to raise awareness about the e-waste issue and to push for better management policy and practice in the region.