Session 10

Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Recycling in Emerging and Developing Economies
Sonia Valdivia1, Mathias Schluep1, Rolf Widmer2, Rolf Widmer3, Anna-Katharina Hagedorn1
1World Resources Forum (WRF), Switzerland; 2Empa; 3SNV

The increasing consumption of high-tech products leads to a growing demand for metals and production of waste containing metals. Fulfilling this demand for metals through primary extraction poses numerous environmental, social and economic risks and challenges. High metal prices has contributed to spreading meal recycling worldwide by formal and informal recyclers (IR). In developing and emerging economies recycling is mainly done by IR that recover more than 90% of secondary metal (SM) mostly under uncontrolled conditions or worst practices (WP) (e.g. open burning, use of hazardous substances and lack of protective equipment). The latter create serious impacts on human health and the environment. On the other end of the metal recycling chain, a growing number of formal recyclers and manufacturers want to tap the potential of increasing metal recovery by IR, which require guidance, authoritative frameworks, and technical and legal assistance.
The ISO Guidance Principles for the Sustainable Management of SM (ISO IWA 19:2017) fill in this gap and promotes inclusive recycling by addressing the concerns of Economic Operators (EO) involved in subsistence activities. The Guidance Principles introduces sustainability (17 objectives) and traceability requirements. Main users are EO willing to improve the recycling practices in their value chains and demonstrate that they are doing so through a traceability scheme. This paper aims to present and discuss the findings of four Pilot Testing cases (in 2017) in value chains in Peru, Colombia, Ghana and South Africa, and provide recommendations to upscale the implementation.