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The Sustainable Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Resources and Sustainable Utilization".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020) | Viewed by 41040

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering for Environment, Land and Infrastructures (DIATI), Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy
Interests: sustainability assessments and instruments (life cycle assessments, carbon footprint, sustainability indicators); waste management (municipal solid waste, industrial waste, end-of-life vehicles, e-waste); anaerobic digestion; municipal and hazardous waste disposal; valorization of bottom ash; water and wastewater treatment; energy efficiency and GHG emissions of the urban water cycle
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Engineering and Management, “Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of Iasi, Iasi, Romania
Interests: waste management and valorization in the context of circular economy; advanced wastewater treatment processes for recycling and reuse; environmental and sustainability assessments by means of various instruments (life-cycle assessment, water footprint, carbon footprint, sustainability indicators, environmental integrated impact and risk assessment); integrated water resources management; environmental engineering
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We encourage you to submit papers to a Special Issue of Sustainability focused on The Sustainability Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.

Waste from electric and electronic equipment (WEEE or e-waste) is a global concern, due to the continuous technological advances of EEE and to their limited lifespan. International regulations established ambitious collection and recycling targets; however, WEEE management systems generally lack efficiency. Uncontrolled WEEE recycling activities are highly hazardous for human health and the environment, leading to the release of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. Successful and sustainable WEEE management should be based on consumer awareness of correct disposal behavior and cover all stages of material flows in the collection, treatment, and recycling process.

Papers for this Special Issue should consider innovative research on WEEE management that integrates technical novelty and sustainability assessment instruments, such as life cycle assessment, carbon footprint, sustainability indicators, risks quantification, etc. Case studies focused on pilot or full-scale applications for the recovery of secondary raw materials and/or successful WEEE management systems are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Silvia Fiore
Prof. Dr. Carmen Teodosiu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • WEEE
  • E-waste
  • Sustainability assessment
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Carbon footprint
  • Environmental impacts and risks quantification
  • Resources recovery
  • Secondary raw material
  • Critical raw material

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 767 KiB  
Article
Circularity in Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. Comparison of a Manufacturer’s Danish and Norwegian Operations
by Terje Andersen, Bjørn Jæger and Alok Mishra
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5236; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135236 - 28 Jun 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 5079
Abstract
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) as a reverse supply chain (RSC) has a low degree of circularity, mainly focusing on recovering or recycling. Targets to increase the circularity have recently been introduced in the EU WEEE directive. In this case study, we [...] Read more.
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) as a reverse supply chain (RSC) has a low degree of circularity, mainly focusing on recovering or recycling. Targets to increase the circularity have recently been introduced in the EU WEEE directive. In this case study, we have investigated how WEEE is handled within an electric and electronic (EE) equipment manufacturer. The case study includes findings from two different Nordic countries, Norway and Denmark, with interviews of six stakeholders. The case study shows that there are significant differences in how the case company fulfills its extended producer responsibility (EPR), especially related to reporting. The study also found that there is a mismatch between the ambitions in the WEEE directive and a company’s approach related to circularity in the end-of-life phase of an EE product. Based on the results of this case study and from the literature we propose recommendations on alignment with other directives and on a common information regime within the WEEE RSC. Full article
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15 pages, 2621 KiB  
Article
Application of an Integrated Assessment Scheme for Sustainable Waste Management of Electrical and Electronic Equipment: The Case of Ghana
by Mentore Vaccari, Fabiola Zambetti, Margaret Bates, Terry Tudor and Teklit Ambaye
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3191; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083191 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2961
Abstract
The effective management of solid waste, including waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in developing countries poses significant challenges. This paper reports on the development and utilization of a multi-criteria tool to improve the management of WEEE in Agbogbloshie, in Ghana. The tool [...] Read more.
The effective management of solid waste, including waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in developing countries poses significant challenges. This paper reports on the development and utilization of a multi-criteria tool to improve the management of WEEE in Agbogbloshie, in Ghana. The tool was able to successfully evaluate key economic, social and environmental factors faced by workers and to suggest areas for improvement. In particular, the evaluation and comparison of different scenarios suggested that the best solution is the evolution from informal to formal management of WEEE, with workers provided with personal protective equipment, and the introduction of refurbishment activities, with the sale of components in the second-hand market. While it would require further use in other contexts, the tool could be adapted and employed for a range of other waste streams and in other developing countries. Full article
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15 pages, 2012 KiB  
Article
A Preparation for Reuse Trial of Washing Machines in Ireland
by Michael Johnson, Kathleen McMahon and Colin Fitzpatrick
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1175; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031175 - 6 Feb 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3335
Abstract
This paper presents the results of a “preparation for reuse” trial of washing machines in Ireland. For the trial, a methodology for the quantitative assessment of potentially reusable appliances in the waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) stream is developed and applied to [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of a “preparation for reuse” trial of washing machines in Ireland. For the trial, a methodology for the quantitative assessment of potentially reusable appliances in the waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) stream is developed and applied to a statistically significant sample allowing the study to quantify a theoretical potential for the “preparation for reuse” of washing machines in the WEEE stream in Ireland under current collection conditions. For a statistically significant sample size, data on preparation for re-use trials conducted on B2C (Business-to-Consumer) WEEE was collected and reviewed. From the 23,129 appliances which were accepted into the trial, the study found that 327 of these washing machines were successfully prepared for reuse and sold back into the Irish market, leading to an overall reuse rate of 1.5%. A quantitative analysis of the trial data is presented with a complimentary qualitative evaluation which provides insights into the causes for this low reuse figure, the occurrence of specific repairs and recommended actions to address these. Full article
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14 pages, 1745 KiB  
Article
Antimony Mining from PET Bottles and E-Waste Plastic Fractions
by Ayah Alassali, Caterina Picuno, Hanin Samara, Sascha Diedler, Silvia Fiore and Kerstin Kuchta
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4021; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154021 - 25 Jul 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3508
Abstract
In this study antimony concentration was analyzed in 30 plastic items (from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and e-waste) directly by X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) spectroscopy. PET samples were digested in a microwave oven with aqua regia. The plastic components deriving from e-waste followed [...] Read more.
In this study antimony concentration was analyzed in 30 plastic items (from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and e-waste) directly by X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) spectroscopy. PET samples were digested in a microwave oven with aqua regia. The plastic components deriving from e-waste followed three parallel routes: 1. microwave digestion using different acids (aqua regia, 18 M H2SO4, 12 M HCl and 6 M HCl); 2. conversion into ash (at 600 °C) and then microwave digestion with aqua regia, and 3. extraction with 12 M HCl at room temperature for different durations (2 h and 24 h). Results showed that antimony extraction yields from PET were between 57% and 92%. Antimony extraction from e-waste plastics was more challenging: aqua regia was inefficient for poly (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) (ABS) samples (extraction yield was about 20% only), while on a mixture of ABS and polycarbonate (PC), aqua regia, H2SO4 and HCl exhibited equivalent performances (~21%). Ashed samples returned yields ranging from 20% to over 50%. Room temperature extraction on e-waste plastics obtained lower extraction efficiencies, yet longer incubation durations lead to higher yields. In conclusion, the main challenge associated with antimony mining from plastic waste could be its heterogeneous composition; therefore, the development of reference analytical procedures is highly needed. Full article
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26 pages, 1524 KiB  
Article
Is Voluntary Product Stewardship for E-Waste Working in New Zealand? A Whangarei Case Study
by Vicktoria Blake, Trisia Farrelly and Jonathon Hannon
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3063; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113063 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 7791
Abstract
New Zealand currently manages its annually-generated 99,000 tonnes of e-waste via voluntary product stewardship schemes. Limited data is available to determine the success of this approach. This lack of data is cited as the logic preventing the declaration of e-waste as a priority [...] Read more.
New Zealand currently manages its annually-generated 99,000 tonnes of e-waste via voluntary product stewardship schemes. Limited data is available to determine the success of this approach. This lack of data is cited as the logic preventing the declaration of e-waste as a priority product by the Minister for the Environment which would trigger the enforcement of mandatory product stewardship. This case study involved an online survey of 264 Whangarei District householders asking questions about e-waste creation and management, as well as analyses of local services, and local and national policy. It found that only 1.8% of the estimated e-waste created in the district is recycled by municipal services, with the ‘cost to recycle’ and ‘a lack of knowledge’ presenting barriers to engagement in these services. The ‘lack of ability to repair/the cost to repair’ was found to be the most significant driver for e-waste creation. The adoption of mandatory product stewardship for e-waste was recommended to ensure robust and transparent data collection, see recycling services become more accessible, and raise awareness of these services, thus reducing the value-action gap. Mandatory e-waste management would also impact product design to ensure affordable repair-ability, further supporting a circular economy for electronic goods. Full article
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24 pages, 751 KiB  
Article
Determinants of Residents’ E-Waste Recycling Behavioral Intention: A Case Study from Vietnam
by Hong Thi Thu Nguyen, Rern-Jay Hung, Chun-Hung Lee and Hang Thi Thu Nguyen
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010164 - 29 Dec 2018
Cited by 95 | Viewed by 17528
Abstract
An enormous volume of electronic waste (e-waste) is currently being generated in Vietnam, threatening to render this country as an e-waste dumping region. Although the residents play an indispensable role in the e-waste management system, there is presently no or very limited studies [...] Read more.
An enormous volume of electronic waste (e-waste) is currently being generated in Vietnam, threatening to render this country as an e-waste dumping region. Although the residents play an indispensable role in the e-waste management system, there is presently no or very limited studies available which involve public perceptions on the e-waste recycling in Vietnam. In this study, based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB), the structural equation modeling (SEM) was employed to examine the key factors influencing e-waste recycling behavioral intention of residents in Danang city, Vietnam. Data analyzed from 520 questionnaires revealed that environmental awareness and attitude toward recycling, social pressure, laws and regulations, cost of recycling, and inconvenience of recycling significantly directly affected residents’ behavioral intention, with laws and regulations being the strongest construct significantly to predict individuals’ intention. Of the five above-listed constructs, only inconvenience of recycling had a negative impact on residents’ recycling behavioral intention. Moreover, past experience showed the statistically significant negative effect on the inconvenience of recycling while it had no significant impact on behavioral intention. The influences of demographic variables on recycling behavioral intention were also discussed in this paper. The findings from this research may help policy-makers have a better understanding of residents’ e-waste recycling intention. That is very useful in paving the way for a successful e-waste recycling and management system not only in Vietnam, but also in other countries which are suffering from the same problems of e-waste. Full article
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