ITU Sets New Standards for Sustainable e-Waste Management in Developing Countries


Electronic waste (e-waste) poses significant environmental and health risks, particularly in developing countries. Recognizing the growing volume of e-waste and its impact, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established new standards to promote sustainable e-waste management in developing countries.

New ITU Standards

The ITU guidelines focus on:

  • Enabling regulatory frameworks: Providing recommendations for developing national e-waste regulations and governance mechanisms.
  • Boosting collection and recovery: Promoting effective collection systems, dismantling facilities, and maximizing the recovery of valuable materials like gold, silver, and copper.
  • Promoting environmentally sound disposal: Setting standards for environmentally safe disposal of remaining waste.
  • Strengthening supply chain management: Enhancing traceability, transparency, and accountability throughout the e-waste management process.

Specific Recommendations

The ITU recommendations include:

  • Establishing extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes where manufacturers are accountable for the entire lifecycle of their electronics.
  • Promoting producer responsibility through economic incentives and penalties.
  • Encouraging public-private partnerships for financing, infrastructure development, and technology transfer.
  • Strengthening customs controls to prevent illegally imported e-waste from entering developing countries.

Importance of Sustainable e-Waste Management

  • Preserving natural resources by recovering valuable materials.
  • Protecting human health from toxic substances in e-waste.
  • Mitigating environmental pollution through responsible disposal.
  • Creating job opportunities in the recycling and refurbishment industries.

Challenges in Implementing Sustainable e-Waste Management

  • Lack of infrastructure and technology
  • Limited financial resources
  • Fragmented regulatory frameworks
  • Difficulty in managing informal sector activities

ITU Support for Developing Countries

The ITU offers support to developing countries through:

  • Technical assistance programs
  • Capacity building workshops
  • Policy development guidance
  • Networking and peer-to-peer learning opportunities


These new ITU standards provide a crucial roadmap for developing countries to implement sustainable e-waste management systems. By prioritizing resource recovery, environmental protection, and responsible governance, the guidelines aim to address the growing e-waste challenge and promote a circular economy.


1. What is the estimated global e-waste generation?
The ITU estimates that by 2030, the world will generate 74.7 million metric tons of e-waste.

2. What are the main components of e-waste?
E-waste contains various components, including plastics, metals, glass, batteries, and electronic components like transistors and capacitors.

3. How can developing countries benefit from sustainable e-waste management?
Sustainable e-waste management can create job opportunities, conserve natural resources, and protect human health.

4. What are the challenges in implementing sustainable e-waste management in developing countries?
Developing countries face challenges such as lack of infrastructure, limited financial resources, and fragmented regulatory frameworks.

5. What support does the ITU offer to developing countries on e-waste management?
The ITU offers technical assistance programs, capacity building workshops, policy development guidance, and networking opportunities.


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