Author(s): Ongondo FO, Williams ID, Cherrett TJ
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Abstract This paper presents and critically analyses the current waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) management practices in various countries and regions. Global trends in (i) the quantities and composition of WEEE; and (ii) the various strategies and practices adopted by selected countries to handle, regulate and prevent WEEE are comprehensively examined. The findings indicate that for (i), the quantities of WEEE generated are high and/or on the increase. IT and telecommunications equipment seem to be the dominant WEEE being generated, at least in terms of numbers, in Africa, in the poorer regions of Asia and in Latin/South America. However, the paper contends that the reported figures on quantities of WEEE generated may be grossly underestimated. For (ii), with the notable exception of Europe, many countries seem to be lacking or are slow in initiating, drafting and adopting WEEE regulations. Handling of WEEE in developing countries is typified by high rate of repair and reuse within a largely informal recycling sector. In both developed and developing nations, the landfilling of WEEE is still a concern. It has been established that stockpiling of unwanted electrical and electronic products is common in both the USA and less developed economies. The paper also identifies and discusses four common priority areas for WEEE across the globe, namely: (i) resource depletion; (ii) ethical concerns; (iii) health and environmental issues; and (iv) WEEE takeback strategies. Further, the paper discusses the future perspectives on WEEE generation, treatment, prevention and regulation. Four key conclusions are drawn from this review: global amounts of WEEE will continue unabated for some time due to emergence of new technologies and affordable electronics; informal recycling in developing nations has the potential of making a valuable contribution if their operations can be changed with strict safety standards as a priority; the pace of initiating and enacting WEEE specific legislation is very slow across the globe and in some cases non-existent; and globally, there is need for more accurate and current data on amounts and types of WEEE generated. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Waste Manag
and referenced in International Journal of Waste Resources