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Resource-availability scenario analysis for formal and informal recycling of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment in China


In strategic end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment (EoL EEE) management, it has become important to not only avoid the negative environmental impacts but also enhance the positive effects of secondary resource utilization. This is especially true in emerging countries such as China, where medium- to long-term increases in the amount of EoL EEE generation are projected. This study aims to assess the resource availability potential for EoL EEE recycling based on penetration scenarios for formal and/or informal treatment options in China. We categorized substances contained in EoL television sets and personal computers into environmental, resource, and economic aspects under consideration of product transitions. Barium and copper have a high negative potential impact on human health and/or the ecosystem. Focusing on metals with a high resource potential, the resource availability is assessed under different treatment options using characterization factors identified through a life-cycle impact assessment method, the ReCiPe 2008. The results suggest that copper and lead recycling could alleviate the increase in mining costs of resource utilization. Scenario analysis for penetration of formal and informal recycling options indicated that the difference in the alleviated mining costs between the status quo and short-term transition projections until 2030 corresponds to 2.1–2.4 billion dollars.

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The authors would like to express their gratitude to Dr. Masahiro Oguchi, Dr. Atsushi Terazono, and Dr. Kenichi Nakajima, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan, for their valuable information and advice and Prof. Keisuke Hanaki, Prof. Kensuke Fukushi, Dr. Shinsuke Murakami, and Dr. Ichiro Daigo, School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo, for their valuable suggestions and comments.

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Correspondence to Habuer or Jun Nakatani.

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Habuer, Nakatani, J. & Moriguchi, Y. Resource-availability scenario analysis for formal and informal recycling of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment in China. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 19, 599–611 (2017).

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  • Resource availability
  • Environmental impact
  • Management scenarios
  • End-of-life electrical and electronic equipment
  • China