Two staff members of the Washington-based Institute for the Scrap Recycling Industry (ISRI) discussed how Basel Convention trade restrictions could harm recycling efforts, and the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) Autumn Provided comments on the E-Scrap Committee. round table event. The conference was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in mid-October.
Fred Fischer, ISRI’s Vice President of International Trade, said the addition of plastics to the Basel Convention’s Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure has given him an insight into how the Convention is structured, its effectiveness and future directions. He told the delegation that there were growing calls for a review of the
In a presentation on the U.S. position on PIC, Fischer said in June that future country-to-country shipments of electronic scrap from 2025 would require similar notices and regulations to those introduced for plastics in 2021. He said it was agreed to have an authentication system. Although the US is not a party to the Basel Convention, it does participate as an observer, limiting the ability of US exporters to trade with non-OECD countries, Fisher explained.
ISRI President Robin Wiener said the US government is considering ratifying the Basel Convention. “The ability to influence has its advantages [by being in it], but I have major concerns about how it’s structured and how it’s progressing. She thanked the BIR for its “long-standing commitment to the treaty.”
Fischer said the value of the e-scrap trade subject to Basel regulations is difficult to quantify, but ISRI estimates a figure of $23 billion in 2021, which includes a includes approximately $7 billion of OECD exports. He expressed concern that electrical or electronic equipment is defined as “waste,” which includes components, subassemblies and consumables that are part of the primary equipment. “The product list and specific definitions of the products included are being discussed in a working group of technical and legal experts,” he said.
Fischer continued, “Work is ongoing to determine whether all or only certain categories of commodities and ‘fractions’ should be included under the control of the Convention. Fischer called PIC a cumbersome procedure with a large amount of paperwork requiring pre-approval for shipment in all transit countries. “This actually has the effect of deterring potential deals. In Basel, everything is a waste unless it is. It misrepresents it: scrap has value.”
ISRI also accepts used equipment intended for repair, refurbishment or reuse that is not currently considered “waste” under the Convention if it meets certain warranty, handling and documentation requirements. Fischer said he is also concerned about the possibility of changes to.
The EU has proposed amendments that would allow ISRI to apply import and export controls to shipments of all types of used goods intended for repair or refurbishment, not just plastics and electronics. “The U.S. government and most industry groups oppose the EU proposal. Given the United States’ status as a party to the treaty, this means that the amendment is likely to be adopted.”
Although the Basel Convention is an environment and trade agreement, it is largely led by environmentalists, Fischer said. We need to get more involved.”
Fischer said there had been no fundamental review of the impact of the Basel Convention for many years. “They added electronics with little discussion or thought. [whether] What they do is effective. We want environmental stewardship of our planet and responsible business, but we need facts and we want to see more of it. ”
Jan Visser, Chairman of the Board of Germany-based Mirec Benelux/TSR Recycling GMBH and Co. KG, spoke of the increased risk of fires caused by batteries. His company helped him create a video on fire risks and fire prevention after a major fire in 2018, he said.
The film shows how easily a fire can break out even in an unhandled transport truck. It also provides insight into how redesigned recycling facilities and smarter detection technology can reduce the impact of fires. After the video, Visser said recyclers can meet the challenge by managing risk during the collection phase, dismantling batteries from equipment, and more rigorous inspection and documentation of handling processes.
The session also included a presentation on electrical and electronic reuse by Stavros Mylonas, Managing Director of SafeIMS in Dubai. Mylonas has set the approach, systems and procedures required for reuse as an effective business proposition. He said recyclers need not fear expanding reuse, arguing that it is a complementary activity rather than a competition and provides an additional source of income for recyclers.
The BIR Autumn Roundtable was held at the InterContinental Festival City in Dubai.