International Relations Role-Play:

Computer Waste Policy Simulation


Lawrence Susskind

Ten-party, multi-issue chaired policy dialogue among government, environmental, and industry representatives in the fictional nation of Sweland over reform of the country's waste policies, in effort to gain membership in the "European Trade Area"


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

Read more.

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

Close window

Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


This simulation takes place in the European Union in the near future. The EU has prohibited the disposal of personal computers in landfills. It has also required that individual countries develop ‘producer-responsibility’ policies for electronic waste management. Several European and North American countries have already implemented such policies.

The development of a producer responsibility policy is a high priority for Sweland, a country that wants to join the fictional European Trade Area. The deadline for the formal application to join the ETA is only three months away, and Sweland must come up with a sustainable electronic waste policy by then.

Sweland has several major regional and national stakeholder groups that might be affected by a change in electronic waste policy. Sweland's Environment Ministry has called a "Round Table" meeting of ten such stakeholder representatives.



  • This policy is going to be scrutinized by the other countries that Sweland is trying to impress. How does that change the decisions?
  • How useful are caucuses in this type of negotiation?
  • What lessons does this exercise suggest about policy development?
  • What lessons does this exercise suggest about the interaction of economic and environmental interests?



This simulation is not intended to be an accurate reflection of the current status of these issues within the European Union. The debrief of this simulation may include a discussion of the reality.



For all Parties:

  • General instructions
  • Country overview of Sweland
  • Brief on waste management of Sweland
  • Brief on jurisdictional issues of Sweland
  • Brief on financial position of Sweland
  • Brief on waste collection of Sweland
  • Brief on waste disposal of Sweland
  • Draft relevant law of Sweland


Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for:

  • the Chief Administrator to the Ministry for the Environment (Chair)
  • the Director of Finance
  • the Director of Commercial Affairs
  • the Minister of Industry of Western Province
  • the Minister of Commerce Northern Province
  • the Minister of Trade Southern Province
  • the Executive Director of the Electronics Industry Council
  • the Director for the Environment and Product Quality of Big Corp
  • the Computer Retailers Association
  • the Earth Consumer Movement NGO



Multi-party negotiation; national policy dialogue; industrial policy; sustainable development



Hitana Bay Development Simulation

Managing Ground-water beneath the Pablo-Burford Border

National Energy Policy Game

Computer Waste Policy Simulation Attributes

Time required: 5 or more hours
Number of participants: 10
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: Yes
Teaching notes available: Yes