Session 10

Systemic Policy Design for a More Sustainable WEEE Management: the Case of Colombia
Sandra Mendez Fajardo1, Alberto Hernández Carlos2, Angel Camacho3, Andrea López3, Florencia Leal4, Heinz Böni5, Mathias Schluep1
1World Resources Forum, Switzerland; 2Centro Nacional de Producción Más Limpia, CNPML, Bogotá, Colombia; 3Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible, MADS. Bogotá, Colombia; 4Asociación de Industriales de Colombia, ANDI, Colombia; 5Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material, Science and Technology, Empa, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Environmental problems in urban areas are often triggered by unsustainable management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). The most common related characteristics in emergent economies are the meager or absent infrastructure, the presence of WEEE discarded in public zones and sanitary landfills, informal recycling, pollution, equipment smuggling, lack of cooperation among stakeholders and low WEEE collection rates due to absence of an official return network. In addition, WEEE management has become a prominent issue due to the release of toxic substances, such as lead, mercury or Polychlorinated Biphenyls. The importance is reinforced by the economic opportunities offered by valuable components contained in WEEE. In summary, the lack of a systems approach in policy making is one of the main hurdles to an effective waste management, as evidenced by an extensive literature and applied research reports led by various authors studying this socio-technical system. Systemic policy design requires the comprehension of the entire system and its development and behavior over time. For this reason, policy makers should include the following elements in the decision-making process: i) Different dimensions of the problem, ii) Different stakeholders’ targets, iii) Processes within WEEE management; and, iv) Circular cause effect relationships resulting from current and past decisions focused on the short- and long-terms.
Based on this approach, the policy for more sustainable WEEE management in Colombia was designed between 2014 and 2016, based on the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility. This paper aims to share a methodology that serves as a framework to design policies in other emergent economies aiming to tackle structural causes of environmental and public health impacts of worst practices in WEEE management. In a similar way, the experience in Colombia serves as an example for the proposed methodology.