2020 journal article

Life-cycle modeling framework for electronic waste recovery and recycling processes


By: M. Jaunich n, J. DeCarolis n, R. Handfield n, E. Kemahlioglu-Ziya n, S. Ranjithan n & H. Moheb-Alizadeh n

author keywords: life-cycle model; end-of-life management; life cycle assessment; electronic waste; waste management; producer responsibility
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
Source: Web Of Science
Added: October 5, 2020

Policies and regulations such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) have been implemented to potentially increase the recycling rate of electronic waste (e-waste), but the cost and environmental impacts of associated collection, transportation, material recovery, material re-processing, and disposal could outweigh the benefits of recycling if the e-waste management system is not effectively designed and implemented. This paper presents a quantitative, holistic framework to systematically estimate life-cycle impacts and costs associated with e-waste management. This new framework was tested using data from the state of Washington's EPR program to represent e-waste collection, transportation, processing and disposal. Sensitivity of process-level life-cycle model outputs to parameter and input variability was also conducted. Drop-off using fossil-fuel-powered personal vehicles was found to be a key contributor to cost and carbon dioxide emissions. Decision-makers must account for drop-off and consider the feasibility of alternate e-waste aggregation strategies to ensure life-cycle benefits of e-waste recycling are maximized.