The Step Initiative

At the 2004 Electronics Goes Green conference in Berlin, a number of stakeholders from international organisations, academia, industry, business, governments, and civil society agreed on these principles, laying the ground for the Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative.

The StEP Initiative was formally launched in 2007 at the UN Secretariat in New York and functions as part of UNU till 2018. Via the ZEF European Focal Point, the ISP Operating Unit, and, ultimately, SCYCLE, UNU exclusively steered the global, public-private StEP Initiative with co-founder Ruediger Kuehr as its Executive Secretary until 2018. At its peak, StEP had upwards of 100 members from every continent. Major high-tech manufacturers – including Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Dell, Ericsson, Philips, and Cisco Systems – partnered with the UN and with governmental, NGO, and academic institutions, as well as with recycling/refurbishing companies.

Basic goals of StEP included: standardising recycling processes globally to harvest valuable components in electrical and electronic scrap (e-scrap), extending the life of products and markets for reuse, and harmonising world legislative and policy approaches to e-scrap.

The Step Initiative Material

Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) – White Paper

StEP White Paper – Developing Legislative Principles for e-waste policy in developing and emerging countries


StEP White Paper  – Guiding Principles to Develop E-waste Management Systems and Legislation


StEP White Paper – One Global Definition of E-waste


StEP White Paper – Recommendations for Standards Development for Collection, Storage, Transport and Treatment of E waste


StEP White Paper – On the Revision on EU’s WEEE Directive – COM(2008)810 final


StEP White Paper – One Global Understanding of Re-Use – Common Definitions


StEP White Paper – E-waste Take-Back System Design and Policy Approaches


Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) – Green Paper

StEP Green PaperLeaded Glass from Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs)

A Critical Review of Recycling and Disposal Options


StEP Green PaperBusiness Plan Calculation Tool for Manual Dismantling Facilities


Effect of Waste Legislation on TBM of EEE Destined for Reuse

Impact of E-waste Regulations on Reuse Organizations and Possible Future Direction


StEP Green PaperReuse Potential, Evaluation of Reuse Opportunities within WEEE Compliance Schemes


StEP Green Paper – E-waste Prevention, Take-back System Design and Policy Approaches


StEP Green Paper – Differentiating EEE products and Wastes


StEP Green Paper – E-waste Country Study Ethiopia


StEP Green Paper – E-waste in China: A country report


StEP Green Paper – Transboundary Movements of Discarded Electrical and Electronic Equipment


StEP Green Paper – Recommendations on Standards for Collection, Storage, Transport and Treatment of E-waste


StEP Green Paper – International policy response towards potential supply and demand distortions of scarce metals


StEP Green Paper – Worldwide Impacts of Substance Restrictions of ICT Equipment


StEP Green Paper – StEP Green Paper on E-waste Indicators