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Economic and climate impacts from the incorrect disposal of WEEE

Economic and climate impacts from the incorrect disposal of WEEE
Economic and climate impacts from the incorrect disposal of WEEE

This study focused on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) that is incorrectly disposed of in residual waste bins. An analysis of public behaviour, motivation and general knowledge on WEEE management was undertaken in Southampton, England. All respondents were members of the People's Panel run by Southampton City Council. The potential monetary value that could be secured via the resale of WEEE that could be repaired was estimated. The value was calculated for three scenarios – low, middle and high for the years 2020, 2025 and 2030. Carbon footprints were calculated for four disposal routes to enable a comparison of the three scenarios. Analysis of the survey shows that respondents’ knowledge about WEEE management is deficient. The survey results highlighted a high level of confusion regarding correct identification and management of WEEE and a perception that collection services are inconvenient. The incorrect disposal of WEEE is costly; the potential resale value of WEEE disposed of in UK residual waste bins could be as much as £196–215 million by 2030. Reducing the quantity of WEEE entering UK landfills, including WEEE incorrectly disposed via the residual waste stream, via reuse and recycling could allow total emission reductions of between 312 and 344 Mt CO 2e by 2030. Incinerating WEEE also leads to carbon savings, however at the cost of losing recyclable materials and critical metals. The correct capture of this waste stream would therefore generate significant economic, environmental and resource benefits nationally and globally. The study has also highlighted the crucial need for raising public awareness about WEEE management and indicated that kerbside collection services for WEEE would probably be beneficial and popular.

Carbon footprint, Collection, Economic analysis, Survey, WEEE, Waste management
0921-3449
Pekarkova, Zora
092020fe-4360-4755-a571-f977b8fb5f22
Williams, Ian
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22
Emery, Loretta
c95405c7-ef90-420f-a3cb-f4bdffe7143b
Bone, Rachel
8d066f41-d2b1-4acd-b83c-8a5daeeff000
Pekarkova, Zora
092020fe-4360-4755-a571-f977b8fb5f22
Williams, Ian
c9d674ac-ee69-4937-ab43-17e716266e22
Emery, Loretta
c95405c7-ef90-420f-a3cb-f4bdffe7143b
Bone, Rachel
8d066f41-d2b1-4acd-b83c-8a5daeeff000

Pekarkova, Zora, Williams, Ian, Emery, Loretta and Bone, Rachel (2021) Economic and climate impacts from the incorrect disposal of WEEE. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 168, [105470]. (doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105470).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This study focused on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) that is incorrectly disposed of in residual waste bins. An analysis of public behaviour, motivation and general knowledge on WEEE management was undertaken in Southampton, England. All respondents were members of the People's Panel run by Southampton City Council. The potential monetary value that could be secured via the resale of WEEE that could be repaired was estimated. The value was calculated for three scenarios – low, middle and high for the years 2020, 2025 and 2030. Carbon footprints were calculated for four disposal routes to enable a comparison of the three scenarios. Analysis of the survey shows that respondents’ knowledge about WEEE management is deficient. The survey results highlighted a high level of confusion regarding correct identification and management of WEEE and a perception that collection services are inconvenient. The incorrect disposal of WEEE is costly; the potential resale value of WEEE disposed of in UK residual waste bins could be as much as £196–215 million by 2030. Reducing the quantity of WEEE entering UK landfills, including WEEE incorrectly disposed via the residual waste stream, via reuse and recycling could allow total emission reductions of between 312 and 344 Mt CO 2e by 2030. Incinerating WEEE also leads to carbon savings, however at the cost of losing recyclable materials and critical metals. The correct capture of this waste stream would therefore generate significant economic, environmental and resource benefits nationally and globally. The study has also highlighted the crucial need for raising public awareness about WEEE management and indicated that kerbside collection services for WEEE would probably be beneficial and popular.

Text
ZP_RCR_2020_v2 - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 6 February 2022.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 30 January 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 February 2021
Keywords: Carbon footprint, Collection, Economic analysis, Survey, WEEE, Waste management

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 449250
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/449250
ISSN: 0921-3449
PURE UUID: 893a4983-021a-4748-9f42-000ea6f49fe4
ORCID for Ian Williams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0121-1219

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 20 May 2021 16:32
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:49

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Contributors

Author: Zora Pekarkova
Author: Ian Williams ORCID iD
Author: Loretta Emery
Author: Rachel Bone

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