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 Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>