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COURSE 1 & 2: INTRODUCTION TO E-WASTE

E-waste: A story in which we all play a part...

The growing quantity of e-waste we discard globally is unsustainable and it's putting people’s health, the environment, the climate and our natural resources at risk. Yet, there is also 'hidden treasure' locked within e-waste when collected, reused and recycled correctly, including new business models, job creation and recovering rare earth metals. Enrol on this Introduction to e-waste: Issues, impacts & solutions to explore these issues and more.

To help you develop a critical understanding of the global e-waste challenge and to increase awareness of the actions that you - and other players - can take to make a positive difference.

The Introduction to e-waste section of the MOOC comprises two mini-courses covering the following topics:

Course 1 - E-waste: A global issue, featuring learning nuggets:

  • An explosion of e-waste

  • What happens to e-waste around the world

 

Course 2 - Impacts and solutions, featuring learning nuggets:

  • What’s inside your e-waste?

  • E-waste impacts: Environment, society and health

  • E-waste impact on climate

  • Opportunities and game changing solutions

  • Take Action – Planning a campaign.

 

These fit into the overall MOOC as follows:

11 course map 01 02

In order to help you achieve the learning outcomes, the Introduction to e-waste includes rich elearning content, videos and links to a range of publications and websites.

 

We know however that active learning leads to the best results, so we've included a variety of hands-on learning activities, that include research and applying the knowledge you gain, to help you to get the most out of it, including:

  • Create a briefing on the 'explosion of e-waste' for your local country/region
  • Are you an e-waste hoarder?
  • Which disposal and collection scenarios are available locally?
  • What valuable materials can be extracted and recycled from a selection of e-waste items?
  • The risks of unsound recycling practices, impacts, and solutions
  • How much? Embodied energy and carbon footprints
  • Shifting from ‘designing for the dump’ to 'designing to last'.

 

We also encourage you to complete some 'Take action' activities:

  • Join the pledge to reuse or repair
  • Demand a conflict-free supply chain
  • Plan an e-waste campaign to increase public awareness and share ideas.

 

What else is on offer?

  • Interactive questions and quizzes in the learning nuggets 
  • Worksheets to guide you through deeper learning activities 
  • Community group peer-to-peer discussions linked to the main learning material. 

 

The Introduction to e-waste: Issues, impacts and solutions is for anyone with an interest in e-waste - and in tackling the risks and challenges it poses.

Whether you're a concerned citizen, a student, en eco-activist, a health care professional, recycler, policy maker, entrepreneur or business – there is a wealth of rich learning material in this MOOC for you to find out what you need to know to start to be part of the solution to the e-waste challenge.

 

You do not need any prior knowledge of the topics to complete this course.

(Note: Some of the other courses that make up the E-waste Challenge MOOC have different target audiences, please check this out when you enrol.)

The Introduction to e-waste: Issues, impacts and solutions was prepared as part of the E-waste Challenge MOOC by authors: UNEP administered Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (UNEP/BRS), EIT Climate-KIC and KU Leuven.

The authors also collaborated with other contributory organizations for valuable insights and materials to create this version of the MOOC: 

  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • EIT RawMaterials
  • World Resources Forum (WRF).

The course is hosted by EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s leading climate innovation initiative, on its learning platform.

(For any specific/additional acknowledgements and copyright for other courses in the MOOC, see the About the course provider section - or the course welcome nuggets available after enrolment.)

 

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You can start the E-waste Challenge MOOC at any time, and are recommended to plan your time as follows:

Course 1: E-waste - A global Issue

Working through the e-learning screens/materials: one hour
Research, activities and take action: three hours

Course 2: Impacts and solutions

Working through the e-learning screens/materials: three hours
Research, activities and take action: five hours

Total 12 hours: 4 hours 'screen time' and +/-8 hours to complete research and other experiential learning activities. 

 

You are recommended to plan your time for the course over a couple of weeks, giving yourself time to reflect and to discuss the knowledge/insights you uncover with your peers (in the group discussion) as you go.

 New e-waste web resource featured in the course

“The Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, of which the United Nations University (UNU) is a founding member, has launched globalewaste.org, an open source portal that visualises e-waste data and statistics globally, by region and by country. This information will be useful for policymakers, industry, academia, and the general public.”

- United Nations University, Bonn, 4 June 2019.  

Select the map to go to the live page

GlobalWasteMap

EIT Climate-KIC is a European knowledge and innovation community, working towards a prosperous, inclusive, climate-resilient society founded on a circular, zero-carbon economy. We are supported by the EIT, a body of the European Union.

"If we want to support mindset shifts and systems change, we think that it is essential to make knowledge broadly accessible, not only explaining the risks and challenges, but also sharing insights on already available solutions and on how every single individual contribution is crucial for keeping global warming well below 2°."

- Sira Saccani, Director of the Sustainable Production Systems Team at EIT Climate-KIC

Course benefits

Online, self-paced course.

Group discussions in the online community.

Free certificate of completion.

A springboard to the rest of the E-Waste Challenge MOOC.

 

For more information on this course, or to request a certificate for completing all five courses, please contact us by email at: onlineeducation@climate-kic.org

Learning Outcomes:
After completing this course, you'll be able to:
  • Define what e-waste is and how it is categorized into different types
  • Summarize the scale of current and predicted global e-waste, and how much is collected and recycled
  • Summarize the environmental, social, and health impacts of unsound e-waste recycling
  • Explain how electrical product life-cycles of can have negative or positive impacts on climate change
  • Identify the types of valuable materials that can be recycled from various e-waste items
  • Give examples of environmentally sound recycling good practice
  • Consider how you can play a part in changing the 'throwaway society' for the better
  • Plan a campaign to raise public awareness on e-waste issues

To join this course, all you need to do is select the green Enrol button on this page. If you haven’t already registered on the site, you will be prompted to do this when you enrol.

At the present time, the course is only available in English.

Once you have completed this course you will receive a certificate of completion. You will be able to download the certificate directly from this course page.

If you complete all five courses in the E-Waste Challenge MOOC, you can request a certificate of completion for the full MOOC by contact us by email at: onlineeducation@climate-kic.org

This course was prepared as part of the E-waste Challenge MOOC by authors: EIT Climate-KIC, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)- administered ©Secretariats of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS/UNEP) and KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium).

With special thanks to organizations contributing to the full E-Waste Challenge MOOC:

  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • EIT RawMaterials
  • World Resources Forum (WRF).

       

We recommend 12 hours split between screen time and other experiental learning activities.

For more detailed timings, please refer to the About the Course screen and the individual course welcome pages where you will find an overview and breakdown related to the reading, video and activities each one provides.

We expect that a minimum 1mbps internet connection is needed to go through the course content. For external resources such as videos, a higher speed might be needed (2mbps and above). The course links to various external resources from different platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. EIT Climate-KIC bears no responsibility if there are country restrictions that block video or other content in your location.

All of EIT Climate-KIC’s courses are accessible on smartphone, tablet, and desktop. For some courses, you may also need access to a printer in order to print off work sheets and to complete offline activities. If you have any issues accessing our courses on these devices, please contact our technical support team

When you register on the EIT Climate-KIC portal you automatically become a part of our learning community. You can then use the Group set up for the course to seek help from other community members.

Start by introducing yourself in the Group that has been set up for your set up for your course. You can also add details to your profile and allowing others to get a clearer picture of who you are. You can then engage in open discussions, reply to questions or contribute to a task that has been set up. You can also initiate a new thread yourself. In the community, your active contribution is appreciated and encouraged!

Some universities are delivering our E-Waste Challenge as part of their ongoing curriculum. If you are a student with one of these universities, your tutor may ask for additional work to meet the university accreditation standards – or you may be asked to complete part of the course alongside your other studies. Either way, this is a great opportunity to join in conversations with people from all walks of life who are joining together in their concern over the future of our planet.

The open course is not moderated by a teacher or facilitator. You will find many of your peers are experts in their own fields so do use the E-Waste Challenge Group to ask questions. If you are enrolled into a group as part of a university programme you may have your own teacher.

Yes! You are welcome. We think the course has something for everyone. If you don’t want to follow the course but are interested in getting involved only in the discussions, your presence would be a great help to others who may have questions to ask.

You and your students can use any or all of the materials once enrolled in each course. If you would like your own group area just for you and your students, that can be arranged. Please contact us by email at: onlineeducation@climate-kic.org

No - unless you want to. Many of the activities allow you to read as much or as little as you want. It’s your choice. But it is always good to be able to read quickly to get the key information we need, or just an overall idea of what something is about. The techniques we use to do this are called skimming and scanning, and they are useful in any language. There are many resources online about this; here are two: University of Sussex and ThoughtCo. 

Learning Outcomes:
After completing this course, you'll be able to:
  • Define what e-waste is and how it is categorized into different types
  • Summarize the scale of current and predicted global e-waste, and how much is collected and recycled
  • Summarize the environmental, social, and health impacts of unsound e-waste recycling
  • Explain how electrical product life-cycles of can have negative or positive impacts on climate change
  • Identify the types of valuable materials that can be recycled from various e-waste items
  • Give examples of environmentally sound recycling good practice
  • Consider how you can play a part in changing the 'throwaway society' for the better
  • Plan a campaign to raise public awareness on e-waste issues
scorm Welcome
A welcome to the course and some extra tips
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scorm An explosion of e-waste
Across the globe, we are throwing away vast quanti...More
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scorm What happens to e-waste around the world
Where do our gadgets and appliances go at the end...More
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scorm Quiz and summary
Take a short quiz on what has been covered in cour...More
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scorm What’s inside your e-waste?
There are valuable materials in your e-waste. Do y...More
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scorm E-waste impacts: Environment, society and health
Find out how unsound recycling of e-waste and so-c...More
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scorm E-waste impact on climate
Find out how poor e-waste management and unsustain...More
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scorm Opportunities and game changing solutions
Be inspired by how we can move away from designing...More
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scorm Take Action - Planning a campaign
This nugget focuses on campaigning and action - ho...More
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scorm Quiz and summary
Take a short quiz on what has been covered in cour...More
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textmedia Your feedback
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document E-waste Briefing Activity 1 worksheet
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document Hazardous substances in e-waste part 1
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document Hazardous substances in e-waste part 2
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document E-waste campaign plan worksheet
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Learning Outcomes:
After completing this course, you'll be able to:
  • Define what e-waste is and how it is categorized into different types
  • Summarize the scale of current and predicted global e-waste, and how much is collected and recycled
  • Summarize the environmental, social, and health impacts of unsound e-waste recycling
  • Explain how electrical product life-cycles of can have negative or positive impacts on climate change
  • Identify the types of valuable materials that can be recycled from various e-waste items
  • Give examples of environmentally sound recycling good practice
  • Consider how you can play a part in changing the 'throwaway society' for the better
  • Plan a campaign to raise public awareness on e-waste issues