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Informal electronic waste recycling: A sector review with special focus on China

TitleInformal electronic waste recycling: A sector review with special focus on China
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsChi X, Streicher-Porte M, Wang MYL, Reuter MA
Journal TitleWaste Management
Pages731 - 742
AbstractInformal recycling is a new and expanding low cost recycling practice in managing Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE or e-waste). It occurs in many developing countries, including China, where current gaps in environmental management, high demand for second-hand electronic appliances and the norm of selling e-waste to individual collectors encourage the growth of a strong informal recycling sector. This paper gathers information on informal e-waste management, takes a look at its particular manifestations in China and identifies some of the main difficulties of the current Chinese approach. Informal e-waste recycling is not only associated with serious environmental and health impacts, but also the supply deficiency of formal recyclers and the safety problems of remanufactured electronic products. Experiences already show that simply prohibiting or competing with the informal collectors and informal recyclers is not an effective solution. New formal e-waste recycling systems should take existing informal sectors into account, and more policies need to be made to improve recycling rates, working conditions and the efficiency of involved informal players. A key issue for China's e-waste management is how to set up incentives for informal recyclers so as to reduce improper recycling activities and to divert more e-waste flow into the formal recycling sector.
DOIDOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2010.11.006
Chi_2011_WasteMgmt.pdf679.05 KB
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