E-waste: collect more, treat better Tracking take-back system performance for eco-efficient electronics recycling

E-waste: collect more, treat better Tracking take-back system performance for eco-efficient electronics recycling

Creator: 

Feng Wang

Publisher: 

TU Delft

Date: 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Type: 

Thesis

Language: 

EN

Rights: 

Public

Coverage: 

Description: 

Waste electrical and electronic equipment, or e-waste, is an emerging and fast-growing solid waste stream with complex and heterogeneous characteristics. In the past 20 years, policy- makers and producers across the world have created specialized “take-back and treatment systems” to collect e-waste from final users and process it in recycling and disposal facilities. The fundamental goal of this dissertation is to develop methods to evaluate the performance of these e-waste take-back and treatment systems. The research outcomes will be instrumental to identifying improvement options and intervention measures for enhancing system performance in a more eco-efficient direction. The main subjects investigated in this dissertation include the collection schemes and treatment infrastructures within the take-back and treatment system, founded on a thorough understanding of e-waste characteristics. The performance assessment in this dissertation covers the technical aspects (collection quantity and treatment efficiency), as well as the social aspects (environmental and economic impacts). This will guarantee the validity of the results in both theoretical analysis and applications for daily management. The general research goal is differentiated into four interconnected parts: 1) a comprehensive analysis of e-waste characteristics; 2) a method to determine quantity of e-waste generation and efficiency of collection scheme; 3) a method to assess the technical, environmental and economic performance of treatment infrastructures and system optimization under specific socio-economic conditions; and 4) an evaluation of the occupational impacts associated with e- waste treatment. Accordingly, separate methods and case studies are developed and applied in different chapters.