SRI builds capacity for sustainable recycling in developing countries

In developing countries, the recovery of materials from waste is mainly carried out by thousands of individual workers in what is referred to as the “informal” sector. This involves numerous risks, such as environmental pollution, health hazards and the cross-contamination of hazardous substances. In general there is a lack of quality and sustainability standards. The State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) has been developing knowledge partnerships in the area of e-waste since 2003. As part of the “Swiss e-Waste Programme”, Switzerland has supported India, China, South Africa as well as Columbia and Peru in their efforts to improve their e-waste management systems. Meanwhile, appropriate regulations have been enacted in virtually every partner country.

These results have led to the development of a comprehensive approach in the form of the “Sustainable Recycling Industries” (SRI) follow-up programme. The development objective of SRI is the sustainable integration and participation of small and medium enterprises from developing and transition countries in the global recycling of secondary resources. The Programme organization includes experts in the field and builds strong local partnerships with governmental organizations, industry and the civil society.



The SRI programme creates impact with an integrated approach engaging in three areas, involving relevant experts and building strong local partnerships

SRI is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) and is jointly implemented by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), the World Resources Forum (WRF) and ecoinvent through three linked programme components:

  • Life Cycle Inventories: SRI develops basic data for the assessment of environmental and social life cycle performance for industrial activities through the improvement of local and regional expertise in Brazil, India and South Africa.
  • Recycling Initiatives: SRI improves local capacity for sustainable recycling together with private and public institutions, as well as the informal sector in Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Peru and South Africa.
  • SRI Roundtable: SRI facilitates a stakeholder consultation for the development of sustainability criteria for secondary materials.




Latest news on SRI's activities

SRI End of Project Evaluation
Dr Joyce Miller, SRI project evaluator visited the Ghana Sustainable Recycling Industry (SRI) local team to undertake an end of project evaluation on the activities carried out over it's 4 years timeline from 2019 - 2023. She visited some beneficiary of the project, other stakeholders and supporting institutions of the project. Her visit was to get first hand feedback of how impactful the project had been to the beneficiaries. She also brought to light the areas and initiatives the project could take up in it's extended period of one and half years.

 Visit us at the ISO General Assembly in September 2018
This year, the general assembly of ISO (International Standard Organization) will be held in Geneva (25.-28.09.2018). In Geneva you will have the possibility to visit us at our Info-booth in the innovation space, where the SRI programme and the Guidance Principles for the Sustainable Management of Secondary Metals (ISO IWA 19) will be presented as a key example for successful international cooperation. 
Training the trainers on ISO IWA 19 for Latin American practitioners (1-6 Nov, Honduras)
In cooperation with The National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB), WRFA is organizing the first train-the-trainers activities on the Guidance Principles for the Sustainable Management of Secondary Metals (ISO IWA 19) between 1 and 6 November 2018 in San Pedro de Sula (Honduras). The training aims to build capacities in Latin America on auditing, implementation and training on the ISO IWA 19 to promote the sustainable and inclusive management of e-waste value chains. Practitioners from standardization, normalization and metrology organizations, as well as from recycling companies will be attending the train the trainers event which is by invitation only.
SRI partnering with GIZ
In synergy with SRI, WRFA is currently part of two international consortia partnering with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
SRI is involved in one project in Ghana, working on recycling chains, business models and capacity development and a second project in East Africa. The goal of the activities in East Africa is to support the East African Communication and Organization of the e-waste activities with a focus on review, analysis and development of policy, standards and guidelines for e-waste management on national and regional level.  
Publication: From Worst to Good Practices in Secondary Metals Recovery
The Fact Sheets “From Worst to Good Practices in Secondary Metals Recovery” are now available online.
These Fact Sheets were developed as a response to growing concerns of local and international communities on the severity of impacts to the environment and workers’ health due to the use of Worst Practices in e-waste recycling in developing countries. They aim at raising awareness of key stakeholders and economic operators on the dangers of these practices and introduce alternatives in the form of good practices.
Publication: Life Cycle Assessments of Selected Worst Practices in Secondary Metals Recovery - Recommendations to Move Towards Good Practices
The publication on Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of Selected Worst Practices in Secondary Metals Recovery presents a unique work developed by Ecoinvent and the World Resources Forum (WRF) under the Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI) Programme. The report sheds lights on the severe environmental impacts of selected worst practices and identifies, quantifies and presents their environmental impacts based on Life Cycle Assessments.
Preventing child labour in the informal recovery of secondary metals in developing countries - our contribution to SDG 8
Child labour identified in value chains of recovered secondary metals in developing countries is a critical socio-economic issue that needs to be prevented. This is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 8 which calls for taking immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.
In synergy with the SRI African activities, WRFA has kicked-off an investigation in this area in cooperation with industrial associations and started with the identification of root causes and mitigation options.
Ghana sets milestone
With support of the SRI programme, Ghana made a big step towards a more environmentally sound management of e-waste. Ghana, known for being one of Africa’s major e-waste hot spots, is the first country in Africa to officially launch guidelines for more sustainable management and recycling of electronic waste. More information are available here.
Practical Guidelines for WEEE management in developing countries
SRI has launched the new WEEE Policy design guidebook at the World Resources Forum 2017 in Geneva. 
With the guidelines, governments now have a tool at hand to lead the design of national WEEE policies, engage all relevant actors and increase their empowerment and responsibilities for sustainable solutions. Applying the methods of the guidebook leads to tangible (quantitative) products—such as the policy itself, reports, or records of meetings and agreements, as well as and intangible products, such as the actors’ learning processes or enhanced knowledge of the system. The practical guidelines can be downloaded in English and Spanish.
Sustainable Recycling Industry Training Workshop

IMG 20180620 104240    Sustainable Recycling Industries Training workshop was held in Sunyani on the 19th-21st of June,2018.Read more here.
Ghana’s way towards sustainable e-waste recycling
Ghana’s way towards sustainable e-waste recycling – First country in Africa to officially launch guidelines for environmentally sound e-waste management.Read more here.