Electronic Waste Management for Off-grid Solar Solutions in Displacement Settings

Published 13. Jan 2022
GPA Coordination Unit has undertaken a study with support from NORCAP, to amplify the efforts on e-waste management in displacement settings.

As the number of initiatives focusing on improving energy access for displaced and host communities increases, so does the quantity of electronic waste (e-waste) in displacement settings. However, most of the e-waste ends up unused, buried, burned, or informally disposed of on the ground. The lack of proper e-waste management practices in displacement settings poses health and environmental hazards due to leaking batteries or exposure to heavy metals within off-grid solar products.

Triggered by NORCAP’s interest in providing specialist support on the e-waste in displacement settings topic, this study defines e-waste from solar products, identifies several e-waste management tools for humanitarian organisations, highlighting the importance of circular economy principles, lists an overview of keys actors and ongoing projects, and provides a reflection on the findings and recommendations for key actors.

The recommendations from the report can be summarised as below.

  • Coordination of e-waste activities within the humanitarian sector;
  • Advocacy for an enabling environment through an appropriate regulatory framework;
  • Sustainable procurement guidelines for electronic products purchased by humanitarian organisations;
  • Establishment of proper repair, recycling, and disposal infrastructure in displacement settings;
  • Manufacturers to design repairable products with longer lifetimes;
  • Inclusion of e-wase management strategy in energy programming; and
  • Capacity building and livelihoods activities for the displacement affected communities.