UNIDO Meeting of Experts on Mercury Waste. 10-11 September 2018, Vienna

2 months ago Ruediger Kuehr 0

The SCYCLE team was invited to the UNIDO meeting of experts on mercury waste, held in Vienna on September 10-11, to present the preliminary results of its study on the volume of mercury waste over the next 15-20 years.

UNIDO plays an essential role in assisting member states with implementation of the main provisions of the Minamata Convention, including in the field of sound management of mercury waste.

More than 30 representatives from developing countries (DC), countries with economies in transition (CEIT), the mercury waste management sector, and other relevant UN agencies and international bodies attended the event.

The conference was an opportunity to present the current status of the mercury waste management process from different perspectives, to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and transfer of existing or innovative technologies among different stakeholders, and to assess the most interesting elements of a roadmap towards an integrated approach for the sound management of mercury waste and e-waste.

According to the initial estimates developed by UNU-SCYCLE, in 2017 6.2 million metric tonnes (Mt) of mercury-added products waste were generated worldwide, of which 2,573 tonnes were mercury waste – namely 0.36 grams per inhabitant. As a general trend, the global quantity of mercury-added EEE plus non-electronic measuring devices has gradually increased since 2010 (4.1 million Mt) by an average of 7% until 2018, when it reached a plateau of around 6.4 Mt from 2018 to 2025.

Starting in 2025, the mercury-added product waste is expected to decrease rapidly, as this is considered the final phase-out date for all the signatories of the Convention. Similarly, the amount of mercury waste (contained in products) is expected to slowly grow until 2025—to a maximum of about 3,055 tonnes of mercury waste—and then decrease rapidly as an consequence of the Convention ban on production and sales.

The expert meeting was an opportunity for the SCYCLE team to collect concrete input and establish contacts with recycling companies to gather new data on mercury contents. A new round of calculations on the volume of mercury waste, based on the information exchanged during the event, will be now conducted. The final estimates will be presented at the upcoming Conference of Parties of the Minamata Convention, to be held in Geneva in November 2018.

Photo: UNIDO