Current status and research on E-waste issues in Asia

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Abstract

Rapid economic growth in Asia and the increasing transboundary movement of secondary resources will increasingly require both 3R endeavors (reduce, reuse, recycle) in each country and appropriate control of international material cycles. Recently, managing electrical and electronic waste (E-waste) has become an important target for domestic and international material cycles from the viewpoints of environmental preservation and resource utilization efficiency. To understand the current status of E-waste issues in the context of international material cycles and to discuss the future tasks related to achieving 3R in the region, we organized the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) E-waste Workshop in December 2004. This article reviews past studies on E-waste and briefly describes the topics presented and discussions held at the workshop. The topics at the workshop included E-waste generation, recycling systems, international trade, and environmental impacts. In addition, we discussed various issues such as terminology, current environmental concerns, and possible solutions. Transboundary shipments of E-waste should be conducted taking into consideration the concept of sustainable development. The direction of future research and possible collaborations are also discussed.