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    An E-Waste Bill for Colombia

    By Keith R | April 15, 2009

    Topics: Electronic/Electrical Equipment, Waste & Recycling | No Comments »

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    After months of rumbling on the issue (here and here), Colombia finally has its first formal proposal to regulate waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE or “e-waste” or “e-scrap”) — in this case, in the form of a bill introduced in the Colombian Senate.  Whether or not the bill manages to pass before the 2010 election campaign consumes all the attention of legislators remains to be seen, but its introduction does raise the stakes.


    Unlike many WEEE bills surfacing in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) (here, here, here, here and here), this one does not offer an annex listing which products fall within its scope, nor does it explicitly call for the implementing norms to list them.  [The Senator’s accompanying explanation of motives, however, does mention the 10 principal EEE categories in Annex 1A of the EU’s WEEE Directive.]  The scope may, then, hinge on the bill’s definition of “electrical and electronic equipment”, which is “all apparatuses that in order to function need electrical current or electromagnetic fields, as well as the apparatuses necessary for generating, transmitting and mediating such currents.”

    The bill also departs from others in LAC by explicitly calling for the classification of WEEE to follow the dispositions of the Basel Convention — presumably a reference to Annexes VIII and IX of the Convention (English, Spanish), which were added in 1998 in part to deal with the issue of international movements of used and end-of-life EEE.

    Obligations of the Importers, Producers and Marketers

    The bill would require importers, producers and marketers (distributors, wholesalers, retailers) of EEE to:

    The bill also would give these parties the “rights” to create and participate in WEEE management firms and to ask the government for “stimulus” (including special trade tariff benefits) for assuming their responsibility for integrated management of their end-of-life EEE.  [Note: the bill also would reserve the right of the Colombian government, if it so chose, to form and participate in WEEE management entities.]

    A National WEEE Policy

    The bill would have the Environment Ministry (MAVDT) for the elaboration, planning, coordination, execution and follow-up of a national WEEE policy. MAVDT would be required to consult the Communications Ministry, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Ministry (MCIT), and interestingly enough, the National Learning Service (SENA) and Computadores para Educar (“Computers for Educating”), a special program set up in the year 2000 to help bring the “digital divide” by seeking donated and refurbished used computers (including those imported) in Colombian schools.  Beyond outlining the implementing norms, the policy will also set out economic and financial instruments (a deposit-return system?  advance disposal fee? something else?) that facilitate proper management of WEEE, and steps that promote the creation and formalization of WEEE recycling firms.

    Other Provisions

    The bill would also:

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