SDG12 | SDG13 | SDG3
February 18, 2020

United Nations offers Massive Open Online Course on e-waste management

By ITU News

The world’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on e-waste management – launched in 2016 under the leadership of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) – now includes new course material covering the e-waste guidance offered by ITU and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Our appetite for electrical and electronic products, such as mobile phones, tablets and computers, has bred a global challenge in e-waste.

e-Waste has become the world’s fastest-growing waste stream.

Over 50 million tonnes of e-waste are generated annually, and this figure is projected to grow to 120 million tonnes by 2050.

If not treated properly, e-waste can pose serious threats to our health and environment. And e-waste often crosses borders to developing countries ill-equipped for this treatment.

But e-waste can also contain valuable raw materials such as gold, copper, nickel, indium, tantalum and palladium.

In the e-waste challenge lies a wealth of opportunity to recover valuable raw materials and create new jobs in recycling.

The MOOC aims to uncover this opportunity.

It will guide you through the complexities of the e-waste challenge and the actions that policymakers, industry leaders, academics and consumers can take to address it.

With all course material endorsed by leading e-waste experts, the MOOC shares insight into policy tools, international standards and best practices capable of stimulating the transition to sustainable e-waste management.

It comprises five independent modules:

  • 1&2: Introduction to e-waste – issues, impacts and solutions
  • 3: e-Waste and children’s health
  • 4: Reducing e-waste by design, standards, business and policy
  • 5: Environmentally sound management and inclusive e-waste recycling

ITU standards form a key part of the redesigned MOOC.

ITU standards address the entire lifecycle of information and communication technologies (ICTs), from their production to their disposal. They offer guidelines and certification schemes for sustainable e-waste management, also addressing the role played by the informal sector in e-waste collection and dismantling. They specify universal chargers for ICT devices that minimize energy consumption and e-waste. And they provide guidelines to recycle rare-metal components of ICTs. Learn more about ITU’s activities on e-waste… 

The MOOC is offered by BRS, together with partners the European Institute for Innovation and Technology’s Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (EIT Climate-KIC), EIT RawMaterials, ITU, KU Leuven, WHO and World Resources Forum.

Watch ITU Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson explain the motivations behind the MOOC.



  • Was this article Helpful ?
  • yes   no
© International Telecommunication Union 1865-2018 All Rights Reserved.
ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology. Any opinions expressed and statistics presented by third parties do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.

United Nations offers Massive Open Online Course on e-waste management

Send this to a friend