An integrated approach to establish e-waste management systems for developing countries

IKHLAYEL, M. 2018. An integrated approach to establish e-waste management systems for developing countries. Journal of Cleaner Production, 170, 119-130.


E-waste (also known as waste electrical and electronic equipment) is one of the fastest-growing waste streams worldwide. Given this rapid growth, issues related to e-waste are a serious concern. Increasing amounts of e-waste pose detrimental effects to the environment and public health through improper recycling and disposal techniques. Such informal recycling practices are common in several developing countries, where recycling methods are rudimentary, and a significant proportion of e-waste components ends up in unsanitary (uncontrolled) landfill and open dump sites. To address these issues, this paper aims to introduce a systematic approach to e-waste management; a process termed integrated e-waste management (IEWM) is a theoretically viable technique in which municipal solid waste and e-waste management systems are managed. This is possible because both systems share common waste fractions and treatment and disposal technologies. Therefore, integrated e-waste management represents an advance in the controlled disposal of e-waste and improvements in local environments and public health in developing countries. This study employs a systematic approach that combines field trip work, systematic literature review, and quantitative data analysis to propose a solution that can bring benefits in the short, medium and long-term. The study proposes the hypothesis that an integrated approach can improve e-waste handling in developing countries by addressing region-specific issues simultaneously. This study considers the technical aspects of implementing an integrated approach and, by comparing these aspects against more traditional, widely practiced approaches.