Forecasting Global Generation of Obsolete Personal Computers

Abstract:Written by Jinglei Yu, Eric Williams, Meiting Ju and Yan Yang. Electronic waste (e-waste) has emerged as a new policy priority around the world. Motivations to address e-waste include rapidly growing waste streams, concern over the environmental fate of heavy metals and other substances in e-waste, and impacts of informal recycling in developing countries. Policy responses to global e-waste focus on banning international trade in end-of-life electronics, the premise being that e-waste is mainly generated in the developed world and then exported to the developing world. Sales of electronics have, however, been growing rapidly in developing nations, raising the question of whether informal recycling in developing countries driven by international trade or domestic generation. This paper addresses this question by forecasting the global generation of obsolete personal computers (PCs) using the logistic model and material flow analysis. Results show that the volume of obsolete PCs generated in developing regions will exceed that of developed regions by 2016?2018. By 2030, the obsolete PCs from developing regions will reach 400?700 million units, far more than from developed regions at 200?300 million units. Future policies to mitigate the impacts of informal recycling should address the domestic situation in developing countries.

URL: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es903350q

Source: Environmental Science & Technology (ACS Publications)

Resource Type: Article/report

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