Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Producer responsibility solution to electronic waste in developing countries

12.09.2011
How can legislation be used to avoid hazardous waste being dumped where it could poison people and the environment in developing countries?

Introducing producer responsibility could be one solution, says Panate Manomaivibool of the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University, Sweden, in a new thesis.

In recent years, the problems of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in China, India and various African countries have been highlighted. Unregulated recycling in these countries has led to toxic substances such as lead and mercury from televisions, PVC from wire coating and brominated flame retardants from plastics leaching into the environment and poisoning people. Both the poor people who work with recycling and local residents have been affected.

Initially, a lot of the hazardous electrical and electronic waste was exported from the West in breach of the Basel Convention. More recent studies also show that WEEE from domestic consumption has increased sharply in emerging and developing economies. Faced with this growing problem, a number of these countries are now developing systems and legislation for the management of WEEE.

Panate Manomaivibool’s thesis shows how lessons can be learnt from the OECD countries’ solutions when tackling the problem and developing relevant legislation.

Producer responsibility is a key part of the solution. It creates incentives not only to improve the recyclability of the product but also to improve other aspects of the product system. This could mean better waste management technology and methods or changes to the design of products to facilitate waste management. This helps to reduce the amount of toxic substances in the materials and components.

Producers can be given responsibility for WEEE in a number of different ways. In Europe, for example, manufacturers often join forces and form collective producer responsibility organisations, which manage the collection and recycling of products on their behalf, free of charge to householders.

In Japan, obsolete products are returned to retailers and then sorted according to manufacturer. The major manufacturers have their own recycling facilities. This system has been effective in engaging the manufacturers in learning about recycling and stimulating product redesign.

There are good opportunities to apply producer responsibility for WEEE in non-OECD countries. The levels of this waste are still relatively low, which means that effective preventive measures can still be taken for the future growth in WEEE. For example, producers could be required to phase out hazardous substances and provide recycling guarantees for new products before they come onto the market. The countries also benefit from the fact that many manufacturers of ICT are working to develop systems to deal with obsolete products. Many of them are multinational companies with long experience of producer responsibility from OECD countries.

However, there are challenges involved in introducing producer responsibility. One problem is that it can be difficult to identify the producers of counterfeit or non-branded goods, and another is that the polluted informal recycling sector competes for recyclable material. These challenges are nonetheless manageable. Large companies which supply components for non-branded products, for example ‘white-box’ computers, can be made responsible instead of pursuing the small assemblers. It is important that fees collected can be used to support the recycling facilities that operate legally.

“In order to succeed, the politicians in non-OECD countries need to take on the challenges that exist by exploiting the full potential of producer responsibility. They have the privilege of being able to learn from the successes and mistakes of the OECD countries. In combination with an understanding of the context of their own country, there are good opportunities for them to design and run a programme that rewards producers who develop their products in a way that improves their environmental performance”, says Panate Manomaivibool.

The thesis, Advancing the Frontier of Extended Producer Responsibility The management of waste electrical and electronic equipment in non-OECD countries was defended on 9 September at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University.

For more information, please contact Panate Manomaivibool on panate.manomaivibool@iiiee.lu.se, +46 46 222 02 59 or +46 735 62 56 79.

Advancing the Frontier of Extended Producer Responsibility The management of waste electrical and electronic equipment in non-OECD countries

Megan Grindlay | idw
Further information:
http://www.lu.se
http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=12683&postid=2062478

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>