Kenya has developed several policies and legislation to guide e-waste management.
The Kenya Constitution 2010 gives the right to every Kenyan to a clean and healthy environment under Article 42. Article 69 obligates the government to eliminate any processes that degrade the environment.
Kenya Constitution 2010 legislates that any Convention that the Country has ratified becomes part of the national laws. Some of the international conventions regulating hazardous waste include the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. The Bamako Convention aims at introducing preventive measures and guaranteeing appropriate disposal of hazardous waste in Africa. Kenya has not yet ratified the Bamako Convention.
The main legislation guiding e-waste management in Kenya is the Environmental Management and Coordination Act 1999 (Revised 2015) and the Waste Management Regulations (2006). These laws prohibit handling, transportation and disposal of waste without valid licenses issued by the National Management Authority (NEMA).
Kenya has just finalized an e-waste regulation under the EMCA 1999 and is now at the final stages of finalization and endorsement by the government. This regulation awaits the Attorney General’s office approval for signature by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
Kenya has finalized development of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations 2021 which are undergoing final drafting at the Attorney General’s office. The EPR regulations identify e-waste as one of the products subject to EPR. The producers of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) shall establish or join a Producer Responsibility Organization as shareholders and operationalize an EPR Scheme collectively. EPR regulations await enactment in the near future.
The Public Procurement and Disposal Act governs disposal of goods and services in public institutions. Public institutions have to bond and invite competitive tenders for disposal of computers and other EEE as scrap in line with procurement procedures. According to Section 165(2), electronic waste disposal restrictions apply and players licensed to handle the respective waste as prescribed under section 88 of the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act, 1999. The Act is silent on the end-of-life effects of e-waste.
Vision 2030 recognized that Kenya cannot attain high economic and social development without prioritizing environmental management especially the reduction of pollution by diverse wastes. In this regard, waste management including e-waste was a priority flagship project. The MTP3 2018-2022 document prioritized E-waste as an emerging waste category with an emphasis on support to SMEs to improve waste management.
Kenya also published the National ICT policy through the Ministry of ICT (Information and Communication technology) in 2006. The ICT policy requires that electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) dealers demonstrate their readiness to minimize the effects of their infrastructure on the environment before they can have their licenses renewed by the Communications Authority. Institutions generating e-waste shall take full responsibility to conserve and protect the environment from the harmful effects of waste emanating from EEE.
Further, NEMA in 2010 formulated the National E-Waste Guidelines to assist the government, private sector, learning institutions and other stakeholders to manage e-waste effectively to enhance environmental conservation. These guidelines also prescribe approaches to enhance environmental protection; environmental awareness; categories of e-waste and target groups; e-waste treatment technologies; and disposal procedures.
On 25th February 2021, the Cabinet approved the Sustainable Waste Management Policy and Bill (2021). Both documents propose a transition from linear to circular economy with increased recovery of value from waste, employment of Kenyans, reduction in demand for virgin materials, saving energy, reduce green house gas emissions and carbon footprint. The Sustainable Waste Management Bill awaits the Attorney General’s Office transmission to Parliament for enactment.
Kenya has also finalized the National E-Waste Strategy 2019 to guide the country’s interventions in management of E-waste. The Strategy aims at addressing E-Waste management through development of policies, guidelines and standards, undertaking baseline survey on E-waste generation and volumes to inform priority e-waste management infrastructure in the country. The E-waste strategy awaits publishing and implemented soon.
At County Level, some Counties such as Machakos County has developed an E-Waste Act addressing diverse issues. Some institutions such as JKUAT has developed an institutional e-waste policy.
As of 2021, only 6 recyclers have licenses to handle e-waste in Kenya. These are few, considering the huge number of EEE users in Kenya. In most cases, these licensed handlers fail to bid to purchase e-waste since they can get it freely from diverse sources. The law fails to provide further guidance in case the recyclers fail to bid for purchase of e-waste. This bureaucratic process is slow and results in huge stock of obsolete computers and other e-waste held in public institutions.
Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) 2018 4th Quarter sector Statistics Report for 2017/18. CA
County Government of Machakos, 2015, E-Waste Act
Environmental Management and Coordination Act (1999)
EMCA Waste Management Regulations (2006)
Government of Kenya (GoK ) 2008, Kenya Vision 2030
Kenya Constitution (2010)
National Environment Policy (2013)
National E-Waste Strategy (2019)
MoEF (2021) National Sustainable Waste Management Bill
Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) 2021 National Sustainable Waste Management Policy
NEMA 2010 E-waste Guidelines
NEMA 2015 National Solid Waste Management Strategy
UNEP & International Solid Waste Association (2017) The global E-waste Outlook
UNEP (2018) African Waste Outlook