Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Producer responsibility solution to electronic waste in developing countries

Date:
September 12, 2011
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
How can legislation be used to avoid hazardous waste being dumped where it could poison people and the environment in developing countries? Introducing producer responsibility could be one solution, experts say.

How can legislation be used to avoid hazardous waste being dumped where it could poison people and the environment in developing countries? Introducing producer responsibility could be one solution, says Panate Manomaivibool of the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE) at Lund University, Sweden, in a new thesis.

In recent years, the problems of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in China, India and various African countries have been highlighted. Unregulated recycling in these countries has led to toxic substances such as lead and mercury from televisions, PVC from wire coating and brominated flame retardants from plastics leaching into the environment and poisoning people. Both the poor people who work with recycling and local residents have been affected.

Initially, a lot of the hazardous electrical and electronic waste was exported from the West in breach of the Basel Convention. More recent studies also show that WEEE from domestic consumption has increased sharply in emerging and developing economies.

Faced with this growing problem, a number of these countries are now developing systems and legislation for the management of WEEE. Panate Manomaivibool's thesis shows how lessons can be learnt from the OECD countries' solutions when tackling the problem and developing relevant legislation.

Producer responsibility is a key part of the solution. It creates incentives not only to improve the recyclability of the product but also to improve other aspects of the product system. This could mean better waste management technology and methods or changes to the design of products to facilitate waste management. This helps to reduce the amount of toxic substances in the materials and components.

Producers can be given responsibility for WEEE in a number of different ways. In Europe, for example, manufacturers often join forces and form collective producer responsibility organisations, which manage the collection and recycling of products on their behalf, free of charge to householders. In Japan, obsolete products are returned to retailers and then sorted according to manufacturer. The major manufacturers have their own recycling facilities. This system has been effective in engaging the manufacturers in learning about recycling and stimulating product redesign.

There are good opportunities to apply producer responsibility for WEEE in non-OECD countries. The levels of this waste are still relatively low, which means that effective preventive measures can still be taken for the future growth in WEEE. For example, producers could be required to phase out hazardous substances and provide recycling guarantees for new products before they come onto the market. The countries also benefit from the fact that many manufacturers of ICT are working to develop systems to deal with obsolete products. Many of them are multinational companies with long experience of producer responsibility from OECD countries.

However, there are challenges involved in introducing producer responsibility. One problem is that it can be difficult to identify the producers of counterfeit or non-branded goods, and another is that the polluted informal recycling sector competes for recyclable material. These challenges are nonetheless manageable. Large companies which supply components for non-branded products, for example 'white-box' computers, can be made responsible instead of pursuing the small assemblers. It is important that fees collected can be used to support the recycling facilities that operate legally.

"In order to succeed, the politicians in non-OECD countries need to take on the challenges that exist by exploiting the full potential of producer responsibility. They have the privilege of being able to learn from the successes and mistakes of the OECD countries. In combination with an understanding of the context of their own country, there are good opportunities for them to design and run a programme that rewards producers who develop their products in a way that improves their environmental performance," says Panate Manomaivibool.

The thesis, Advancing the Frontier of Extended Producer Responsibility The management of waste electrical and electronic equipment in non-OECD countries was defended on 9 September at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Lund University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Lund University. "Producer responsibility solution to electronic waste in developing countries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110912102120.htm>.
Lund University. (2011, September 12). Producer responsibility solution to electronic waste in developing countries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110912102120.htm
Lund University. "Producer responsibility solution to electronic waste in developing countries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110912102120.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Rescuers were forced to suspend plans to recover at least two dozen bodies from near the summit of Mount Ontake in central Japan on Tuesday after increased seismic activity raised concern about the possibility of another eruption. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins