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How are WEEE doing? A global review of the management of electrical and electronic wastes

How are WEEE doing? A global review of the management of electrical and electronic wastes
How are WEEE doing? A global review of the management of electrical and electronic wastes
This paper presents and critically analyses the current waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) management practices in various countries and regions. Global trends in (i) the quantities and composition of WEEE; and (ii) the various strategies and practices adopted by selected countries to handle, regulate and prevent WEEE are comprehensively examined. The findings indicate that for (i), the quantities of WEEE generated are high and/or on the increase. IT and telecommunications equipment seem to be the dominant WEEE being generated, at least in terms of numbers, in Africa, in the poorer regions of Asia and in Latin/South America. However, the paper contends that the reported figures on quantities of WEEE generated may be grossly underestimated. For (ii), with the notable exception of Europe, many countries seem to be lacking or are slow in initiating, drafting and adopting WEEE regulations. Handling of WEEE in developing countries is typified by high rate of repair and reuse within a largely informal recycling sector. In both developed and developing nations, the landfilling of WEEE is still a concern. It has been established that stockpiling of unwanted electrical and electronic products is common in both the USA and less developed economies. The paper also identifies and discusses four common priority areas for WEEE across the globe, namely: (i) resource depletion; (ii) ethical concerns; (iii) health and environmental issues; and (iv) WEEE takeback strategies. Further, the paper discusses the future perspectives on WEEE generation, treatment, prevention and regulation. Four key conclusions are drawn from this review: global amounts of WEEE will continue unabated for some time due to emergence of new technologies and affordable electronics; informal recycling in developing nations has the potential of making a valuable contribution if their operations can be changed with strict safety standards as a priority; the pace of initiating and enacting WEEE specific legislation is very slow across the globe and in some cases non-existent; and globally, there is need for more accurate and current data on amounts and types of WEEE generated.
0956-053X
714-730
Ongondo, F.O.
1571ba26-fed2-42d9-a392-ad8fde1e6bbf
Williams, I.D.
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22
Cherrett, T.J.
e5929951-e97c-4720-96a8-3e586f2d5f95
Ongondo, F.O.
1571ba26-fed2-42d9-a392-ad8fde1e6bbf
Williams, I.D.
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22
Cherrett, T.J.
e5929951-e97c-4720-96a8-3e586f2d5f95

Ongondo, F.O., Williams, I.D. and Cherrett, T.J. (2011) How are WEEE doing? A global review of the management of electrical and electronic wastes. Waste Management, 31 (4), 714-730. (doi:10.1016/j.wasman.2010.10.023).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper presents and critically analyses the current waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) management practices in various countries and regions. Global trends in (i) the quantities and composition of WEEE; and (ii) the various strategies and practices adopted by selected countries to handle, regulate and prevent WEEE are comprehensively examined. The findings indicate that for (i), the quantities of WEEE generated are high and/or on the increase. IT and telecommunications equipment seem to be the dominant WEEE being generated, at least in terms of numbers, in Africa, in the poorer regions of Asia and in Latin/South America. However, the paper contends that the reported figures on quantities of WEEE generated may be grossly underestimated. For (ii), with the notable exception of Europe, many countries seem to be lacking or are slow in initiating, drafting and adopting WEEE regulations. Handling of WEEE in developing countries is typified by high rate of repair and reuse within a largely informal recycling sector. In both developed and developing nations, the landfilling of WEEE is still a concern. It has been established that stockpiling of unwanted electrical and electronic products is common in both the USA and less developed economies. The paper also identifies and discusses four common priority areas for WEEE across the globe, namely: (i) resource depletion; (ii) ethical concerns; (iii) health and environmental issues; and (iv) WEEE takeback strategies. Further, the paper discusses the future perspectives on WEEE generation, treatment, prevention and regulation. Four key conclusions are drawn from this review: global amounts of WEEE will continue unabated for some time due to emergence of new technologies and affordable electronics; informal recycling in developing nations has the potential of making a valuable contribution if their operations can be changed with strict safety standards as a priority; the pace of initiating and enacting WEEE specific legislation is very slow across the globe and in some cases non-existent; and globally, there is need for more accurate and current data on amounts and types of WEEE generated.

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More information

Published date: April 2011
Organisations: Centre for Environmental Science, Civil Maritime & Env. Eng & Sci Unit, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 186161
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/186161
ISSN: 0956-053X
PURE UUID: 352355bb-495d-4f10-977c-aed912cfaea7
ORCID for I.D. Williams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0121-1219

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 May 2011 12:40
Last modified: 20 Jun 2018 00:33

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