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The Green e-Waste Channel: model for a reuse and recycling system of electronic waste in South Africa

TitleThe Green e-Waste Channel: model for a reuse and recycling system of electronic waste in South Africa
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBondolfi A
UniversityUNI Lausanne / Empa
CityLausanne / St.Gallen
Thesis TypeMaster Thesis
Keywordse-waste, Green e-Waste Channel, recycling, refurbishment
AbstractElectronic waste, or e-waste for short, is a fast growing waste stream, not only in developed countries but also in countries in transition such as South Africa. Although South Africa recycles some of its e waste, most of it is in storage, mostly because there is no take back system. Thus, the equipment looses value for second use. Furthermore, some processors and refurbishers import broken equipment such as old computers because there is not enough material easily available locally. This could be illegal according to the Basel Convention, which regulates the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes. There are many unsound processes in the handling of e waste because there is no proper management system for e waste. Many hazardous components are illegally dumped and informal recycling occurs such as open burning of wires and dumping of monitors. Health and environmental risks are associated with those activities. This study proposes a model through a Green e-Waste Channel by defining the role of possible stakeholders. The Channel is defined as the infrastructure and the processes needed to reuse and recycle e waste. The main stakeholders are refurbishers, collectors and processors. Producers, the government and NGO’s can support the Green e-Waste Channel through a management, legislative and facilitative process. The potential role of each stakeholder is discussed.The viability of the model of a Green e-Waste Channel in South Africa was assessed through a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). The analysis shows that the model reveals many opportunities with advantages for all stakeholders: a) sufficient material can be provided to processors and refurbishers, b) safe jobs can be created, c) a convenient solution can be provided for the consumers, d) a solution for end-of-life equipment can be offered for the producers, and e) the channel helps respecting national and international regulations. In addition the current situation in South Africa is favourable for a successful introduction of a Green e-Waste Channel: the e-waste situation is relatively clean, with limited import and informal recycling, and there is a general move towards more sustainable waste management.
Bondolfi_2007_UNIL-Empa.pdf1.55 MB
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