Introductory video

Find out why Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, thinks e-waste is the challenge of our century - and how, if we work together, we can turn this challenge into an opportunity to help mitigate climate change, create green jobs, and help countries kick-start a circular economy.

Signing up to the MOOC can be your first step!

What happens to your mobile phone, your refrigerator, your computer, or your old batteries once you’ve finished with them?

Every year we are throwing
away more and more. At current rates, an estimated 50 million metric tonnes (mt) of e-waste will be generated worldwide in 2018.

Why should we care?

Action we take today will have lasting impact for generations to come!

E-waste can be a threat to our planet:
Illegal and poorly managed e-waste is polluting our environment, harming human health, and contributing to human-made climate change. The worst impacts are often in the countries that are least equipped to manage it.

Or it can be a valuable resource:
By recycling materials contained in e-waste we can save on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from primary mining, we can create green jobs, and we can create economic opportunities. The intrinsic material value of global e-waste was estimated to be 48 billion euro in 2014. Let’s see it used again, not sent to landfills or dumped illegally.

We all have a part to play in the story of e-waste.
We need YOUR help to take action and meet this challenge.

Is the course for me?

Yes, everyone is welcome! The MOOC is a free course that is open to all; it is designed for anyone with an interest in taking action on managing our e-waste. You may be a recycler, a policy maker, a government official, a student, a teacher, a researcher, or an entrepreneur. Or just someone who cares about our planet!

Can I afford the time?

There’s flexibility in how long you can spend on the MOOC . Simply choose one of the pathways described below in the course details (Duration). For example: as a policy maker or as a recycler, you may not want to complete the full MOOC and only focus on particular parts; whereas students or people new to the subject may be ready to complete the full course.

The course materials have been developed in partnership between Climate-KIC and the following:

  • The United Nations Environment Programme Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP/BRS)
  • Our university partner, KU Leuven, in Belgium
  • The World Resources Forum, based in Switzerland.

The E-waste Challenge: Course details

Course content - What are these courses about?

With our growing appetite for electrical and electronic products, combined with rapid innovation and ever-shorter product lifespans, e-waste has now become one of the fastest growing waste streams.

This course will help you to understand why and how we must manage e-waste in an environmentally sound manner and how you can take action on e-waste in your own life, business, or organization.

The aims of the course are to:

  • Show how sound management of e-waste can help reduce GHG emissions and prevent hazards to health and the environment in accordance with the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions
  • Share best practices, technological innovations, and sustainable e-waste recovery and recycling business models.
  • Explore how the value in e-waste can be extracted in a way that supports the local economy and protects people’s health and the environment.