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Opportunities and Threats of Current E-Waste Collection System in China: A Case Study from Taizhou with a Focus on Refrigerators, Washing Machines, and Televisions

TitleOpportunities and Threats of Current E-Waste Collection System in China: A Case Study from Taizhou with a Focus on Refrigerators, Washing Machines, and Televisions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsStreicher-Porte M, Geering A-C
Journal TitleEnvironmental Engineering Science
Volume27
Issue1
Pages29-36
KeywordsChina, disposal channels, e-waste, electrical and electronic equipment, household survey, informal collectors, low and middle income countries, Reuse, second-hand items
AbstractThis study analyzes household data and compares literature sources about how Chinese households dispose of obsolete electrical and electronic equipment. Household data was collected by questionnaires. It was found that the majority of electrical and electronic equipment is sold to street collectors or as second hand appliances to the reuse market. The informal collection sector plays, therefore, a key role in the separation of waste material, components, or entire items for reuse. Households were also questioned about how much informal collectors paid for televisions, washing machines, and refrigerators. Prices paid do not reflect the conditions of the appliances when sold, nor do they reflect accurately the value of the materials contained in the appliances. It can be supposed that the peddlers pay a price that somehow reflects a mixed return from (1) selling some obsolete electrical and electronic equipment directly for reuse, (2) extracting some components for reuse, and (3) selling the rest for material recovery. This complicates the structing of a formalized collection system; as such a system, in order to obtain e-waste, must compete with the prices paid in the informal sector. Regulators have the options to disentangle: collection, reuse, and recycling by prescribing clear roles and responsibilities, and by including some of the informal activities into a formalized system. The Chinese preconditions for developing a comprehensive e-waste management system differs from those in developed countries and needs to be considered when formulating and implementing regulations.
URLhttp://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ees.2009.0134
DOIdoi:10.1089/ees.2009.0134
AttachmentSize
Streicher_2010_EES.pdf412.49 KB
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