News: E-waste re-use study identifies success factors and barriers
Re-use is part of the sustainable management of e-waste and contributes to the goal of resource conservation in the EU.
Thursday, 28th November 2013
As a result of economic development and rapid advances in technology, enormous quantities of WEEE, or e-waste, are generated globally. Equipment that still has a functional lifespan is often discarded early and sent for recycling as newer products come on the market. Re-using e-waste helps extend a products useful life and reduces the demand for resources to produce EEE. Re-use is part of the sustainable management of e-waste and contributes to the goal of resource conservation, such as that under the EUs Waste Framework Directive. This study explored the barriers that hamper re-use practices and the factors that help organisations successfully refurbish and redistribute used equipment. Working with organisations from Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe, researchers grouped together specific barriers and success factors into general categories, for the organisations to rank according to their importance. The top four factors identified that contributed to successful re-use of e-waste were: a high quality refurbishment process ensuring good quality, reliable products; being in charge of quality control; accessing good quality used equipment; and ensuring that the confidential data of previous users was safely destroyed, as well as protecting the manufacturers brand. The top set of barriers relates to obtaining enough used equipment. Sourcing sufficient quantities of good-quality used equipment is a major concern and some of the reasons for this include current legislation. The second set of barriers relates to the informal and illegal disposal of e-waste. Issues related to regulations, standards and product design are grouped together in the third set of barriers. Although not considered a major barrier, many products are not designed with re-use in mind. In the EU, the difficulties concerning re-use have been identified during the recast of the WEEE Directive and the new WEEE Directive 2012/19/EU2 therefore includes provisions for the promotion of re-use. For more details please go to the external weblink.