CWIT Project Press Release

CWIT Project Press Release

EU Crack Down on Illegal E-waste Trade

Launch of the Countering WEEE Illegal Trade (CWIT) Project


The Countering WEEE Illegal Trade (CWIT) project will provide a set of recommendations to the European Commission and law enforcement authorities that will assist them in countering the illegal trade of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), also known as ‘e-waste’, within and from Europe. Funded by the European Union’s Framework Program 7, this two-year security research project brings together a group of experts skilled in the fields of e-waste analysis, crime analysis, supply chain security and database management.

Only around 3.5 million tons of the estimated total of 10 million tons of e-waste was officially reported to authorities as collected and treated across Europe in 2012. E-waste contains materials such as gold, copper and palladium, which makes it very valuable on the black market, attracting not just illegal single operators but serious organised crime groups.

However, e-waste also contains hazardous substances such as mercury and cadmium. Therefore illegal e-waste handling, often in poorer countries, leads to huge health issues and environmental pollution.  At the same time, European Union Member States are losing a vast amount of rare earth metals and other important minerals due to increasing illicit activities, poor compliance rates, and limited enforcement activities in e-waste.

These issues call for increased attention and enhanced enforcement in the context of WEEE trade, transport and treatment. The CWIT project has been established to identify the policy, regulatory, procedural and technical gaps as observed in today’s business environment, and to suggest tangible improvements.  The CWIT consortium is composed of partners that have a great deal of expertise in the WEEE area, crime analysis and the management of large databases. It comprises INTERPOL, WEEE Forum, United Nations University (UNU), Zanasi & Partners (Z&P), Compliance and Risks (C2P), Cross-Border Research Association (CBRA) and United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).

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On October 25th, 2013, posted in: News by