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A comprehensive analysis of e-waste legislation worldwide

Abstract

The improper disposal and informal processing of e-waste have raised serious concerns for the environment and human health worldwide. A variety of legislative frameworks have been implemented to regulate e-waste management and upcycling in order to prevent environmental pollution and adopt resource reuse. Current e-waste legislation in different countries mostly include restrictions on e-waste import/export, regulations for recycling specific categories of e-waste, and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). This article serves as a comprehensive commentary to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of the different e-waste legislation enforced around the world. Though each country’s e-waste legislation is enframed to address the country-specific problems, the legislation is mostly not holistic, leading to different management issues. A variety of e-waste management issues prevalent in most countries (with e-waste specific legislation) have been listed and categorized for better understanding of the status quo. Further, the article proposes a generic e-waste management model catering to requirements of countries around the world. The implementation of such a model for Europe, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia has been illustrated to show that the model can suit both developed and developing countries with contrasting e-waste management issues. The challenges that would arise in implementing an effective legislation and mechanisms for overcoming these challenges have also been discussed. To conclude, the role of governing bodies in tackling the future e-waste problems has been highlighted. In total, the article promotes scaling up the feasibility and efficacy of the implementation of e-waste policies across the globe in the coming years.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Dr. Anoop C. Patil, R&D Fellow, the N.1 Institute for Health, the National University of Singapore, for his valuable suggestions to improve this paper.

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Patil, R.A., Ramakrishna, S. A comprehensive analysis of e-waste legislation worldwide. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 14412–14431 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-07992-1

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Keywords

  • E-waste
  • Legislation
  • Policy
  • E-waste management
  • E-waste upcycling