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Modeling the Costs and Environmental Benefits of Disposal Options for End-of-Life Electronic Equipment: The Case of Used Computer Monitors

TitleModeling the Costs and Environmental Benefits of Disposal Options for End-of-Life Electronic Equipment: The Case of Used Computer Monitors
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsMacauley M, Palmer K, Shih J-S, Cline S, Holsinger H
InstitutionResources for the Future
CityWashington DC (USA)
ISBN NumberDiscussion Paper 01-27
Keywordscost-benefit analysis, End-of-life electronics, waste stream
AbstractManaging the growing quantity of used electronic equipment poses challenges for wastemanagement officials. In this paper, we focus on a large component of the electronic waste stream—computer monitors—and the disposal concerns associated with the lead embodied in cathode ray tubes(CRTs) used in most monitors. We develop a policy simulation model of consumers’ disposal optionsbased on the costs of these options and their associated environmental impacts.For the stock of monitors disposed of in the United States in 1998, our preliminary findingssuggest that bans on some disposal options would increase disposal costs from about $1 per monitor tobetween $3 and $20 per monitor. Policies to promote a modest amount of recycling of monitor parts,including lead, can be less expensive. In both cases, the costs of the policies exceed the value of theavoided health effects of CRT disposal.
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