There are a number of reasons to pay attention to the separate collection and controlled recycling of e-waste. The main motivations are:
1) By recycling the devices, the materials contained in e-waste can be removed safely and efficiently, and can subsequently be recycled or stored. Examples of those materials are iron, copper and plastics.
2) By recycling, useful materials that are extracted from e-waste can be re-used. This reduces the need for new production.
3) During the recycling process, harmful substances such as CFCs are safely removed from appliances, so that they will not burden the environment.
4) Responsible recycling ensures that appliances will not end up in developing countries where limited or no health and environmental regulations are in place.
In order to improve waste management between nations, many countries have signed the Basel Convention in 1989. This convention encourages countries to process their waste in an environmentally friendly way and prevents transfer of hazardous waste to developing countries, where people would process the waste under poor working conditions.
The legal framework for the collection and recycling of e-waste is the European WEEE Directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment).