This page contains E-Waste related terminology to help you familiarise yourself with phrases used.

‘Black Box’ function

An E-WASTE PRO function that is out-sourced to an appropriate organisation as it requires confidentiality in working with sensitive industry trade data. The subcontracted operator of the “black box” function is expressly prohibited from releasing any information in respect of any producer market share or data to any person including the E-WASTE PRO and the EEE producers themselves.

3 x “R’s” or E-WASTE Management Hierarchy

Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle, Disposal


Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment

Brand Owner

A “brand owner” is defined as a person or category of persons that owns a specific range of products.


Gathering of waste, including the preliminary sorting and preliminary storage of waste, for the purposes of transport to storage, manual or mechanical processing, and metallurgical processing facilities.

Electronic and Electrical Equipment “EEE”

Global definition

“EEE” means electrical and electronic equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly and designed for use with a voltage rating not exceeding 1000 volts for alternating current and 1500 volts for direct current.
“dependent” means needing electric currents or electromagnetic fields to fulfil at least one intended function.

DEA Definition (according to Section 28(1) Notice):

“Electrical and electronic equipment” means equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly and equipment for the generation, transfer and measurements of such currents and fields.

E-WASTE Category Classification

As contained in Schedule 3 of the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act, 2014 (Act No. 26 of 2014).

E-WASTE is classified both as hazardous and non-hazardous (general) waste. From a cautionary principle point of view the global default classification of “hazardous” is applied throughout the Plan.

Product Responsible Organisation (PRO)

An independent, non-profit industry management body that manages the E-WASTE Industry Waste Management Plan and that, among other things: designs and defines the E-WASTE management regime applicable to South Africa; requires the registration of all EEE producers and recyclers; monitors the EEE products placed on the South African market and the safe and beneficial collection and recycling of that EEE once it reaches its end-of-life; the setting and management of standards that all participants in the E-WASTE management system need to comply with; the Planning and disbursement of E-WASTE subsidies to support the Plan and to monitor and audit the entire system for adherence and compliance to the Plan.


Industry Waste Management Plan as contemplated in Section 28 of the NEMWA

Informal Waste Collector

Person/s collecting materials of potential value (e.g. packaging waste and E-WASTE) from the streets, other public spaces, households, waste dumps and landfill sites.  They do not do this collection as waged or salaried persons and often operate at subsistence level. Also referred to as “Pickers”.

Informal E-WASTE Processing

An attempt to maximise sales profits by extracting fractions of value from E-WASTE in the absence of financial (dis) incentives for proper treatment.  This is typically characterised by using inappropriate and unsafe (both for the workers and the environment) methods including breaking and smashing of valuable fraction bearing components and burning off undesirable materials and encasings of such value fractions (e.g. copper in cable).

Local and Global Market

These are markets where there is demand for the materials recovered from the processing/recycling of E-WASTE, be they local or international. All materials recovered from E-WASTE processing/recycling, hazardous and non-hazardous, in this Plan must comply with international and national policy and legislation. Trade in these recovered materials that disregard these policies and legislations are deemed to be illegal trade.

Manual Processing

Process to separate and concentrate E-WASTE fractions manually (e.g. by means of sorting, separating, cleaning, emptying, dismantling, de-pollution and segregation).

Mechanical Processing

Process to separate and concentrate E-WASTE fractions mechanically (e.g. by means of shredding, milling, grinding as well as segregation through eddy current or air stream classifiers. 

Non-valuable fractions

Fractions of E-WASTE where there is no demand for the fraction, and/or where the fraction represents an unwanted cost that is generally avoided by the market.


National Pricing Strategy for Waste Management


The Original Equipment Manufacturer is the company that manufactures or assembles the original product under its own brand name.  The OEM is also known as a “Manufacturer”.


“Producer” means any person or category of persons or a brand-owner who is engaged in the commercial manufacture, conversion, refurbishment or import of new and/or used-

  • paper and packaging material;
  • lighting equipment;
  • electrical and electronic equipment; or
  • goods wrapped in primary or secondary packaging material,

…which are intended for distribution in the Republic of South Africa.The local manufacturer or importer (or their assigned agents) of new and/or used EEE placed on the South African market at the point of manufacture or import.


Any recovery operation by which waste materials are reprocessed into products, materials or substances, whether for the original or other purposes. It does not include energy recovery and the reprocessing into materials to be used as fuels or for backfilling operations. [SOURCE: European Commission, 2008]

E-WASTE Recycling includes the following pre-processing and end processing steps in a basic simplified value chain:

  • Manual Dismantling/Disassembly, Hand Sorting and Decontamination
  • Mechanical Size Reduction (Shredding, milling, granulating, crushing
  • Physical/Mechanical Separation (Gravity, magnetic, air, electrostatic, density, eddy-current separation etc.)
  • Hydrometallurgy (Leaching and solution purification) and Pyrometallurgy (Smelting)
  • Electrometallurgy (Electro-winning, Refining)


Recovery of function of viable assets – subject to certain specifications benchmarked against global industry standards (exercising the re-use priority in the recycling hierarchy)

The Act / NEMWA

The National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) and the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act, 2014 (Act No. 26 of 2014)

Valuable fractions 

Fractions of E-WASTE where there is demand for the fraction and the market is prepared to pay for acquiring it.

Value Chain

The four stages of the E-WASTE value chain are:

  • Collection
  • Dismantling
  • Pre-Processing
  • Processing

WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment)

Electronic waste, or WEEE, refers to all items of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by its owner as waste without the intent of re-use

E-WASTE Dismantler

Service provider who manually recovers certain fractions and components of value in E-WASTE


Processors Service provider who uses either mechanical, chemical, biological or thermal processes to treat E-WASTE fractions received from recyclers to recover secondary resource materials.