12 Dec 2013

Organisation: Geneva Environment Network

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been mandated to prepare patent landscape reports in areas of particular interest to developing and least developed countries, such as public health, food security, climate change and environment. For that purpose, WIPO is developing in cooperation with interested external partners, such as institutions from member States, intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations, the scope of each report.

The e-Waste Recycling Technologies Patent Landscape Report was prepared in the context of collaboration of WIPO with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report aims at providing patent based evidence on the available technologies and the patenting trends in the area of electronic waste (e-waste) recycling and material recovery, while it is intended to provide background and supporting information to the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment under the Basel Convention and complement the Guideline on Material Recovery and Recycling of End-of-Life Mobile Phones and the Guideline on Environmentally Sound Material Recovery and Recycling of End-of-Life Computing Equipment.


Welcome Remarks
Kerstin STENDAHL, Deputy Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions

Presentation of the Report
Irene KITSARA, Patent Information Section, Access to Information and Knowledge Division, WIPO

Discussion on Current Trends of e-Waste Management
Alexandre DELACOUX, Bureau of International Recycling (BIR)
Isabelle BAUDIN, Waste Management Section, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment

Moderation and facilitation: Alejandro ROCA CAMPANA, Director, Global Infrastructure Sector, WIPO

Closure: Matthias KERN, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat

Some facts

  • 50 million tons of e-waste are generated globally annually.
  • 15 to 20% of the world’s e-waste is recycled annually; however, e-waste recycling rates are progressing at an average rate of 18% annually.
  • With rising e-waste quantities, formal recyclers are increasingly entering the e-waste recycling sector.
  • Recyclers often specialize in the recovery of specific materials (5 elements: copper, iron, silicon, nickel, gold).
  • The collection step is crucial (you need volume to create value).
  • The North-South direction of e-waste trade is shifting to a South-South direction.
  • By 2025, the developing world will generate double the developed world’s waste computers.
  • Regional and inter-regional flow account for most of the trade of e-waste.
  • Domestic generation accounts for a significant proportion of e-waste in all countries.
  • In Switzerland, 129’100 tons e-waste collected and recycled in 2013, 16 kg per person, corresponding to a recycling rate ca. 80% and material recycled 75%.
  • The low value of most e-waste often does not cover the costs of managing in a responsible way.
  • The lack of a standard definition of e-waste creates problems of quantification and identification of the sector.
  • There are important underlying social problems to be addressed, as demonstrated in the ILO report (Dec 2012).


Following questions and remarks by Iran, Mexico, ITU, WIPO and NGOs, the panelists and other colleagues from WIPO provided additional information on various topics, including obstacles, assistance to countries, innovation in this sector, e-waste definition.

More information and documents


More Information on the project, the ongoing work, and a compilation of reports published also by other institutions is available at :
The report is available for download on the WIPO website.

Link to e-waste under the Basel Convention.

Visit also the Bureau of International Recycling website.

More information on e-waste in Switzerland on the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment Website.