Loughborough University
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E-waste management in developing countries through legislation and regulations: a case study of China

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posted on 2011-02-15, 11:44 authored by Jing Ye
E-waste is an emerging issue driven by the rapidly increasing quantities, the hazards involved and the valuable materials in it. Due to a lack of environmentally sound technologies or equipment and the imperfect e-waste management system, the poor quality e-waste recycling and disposal methods commonly practiced in developing countries now have serious and hazardous effects on the environment and the workers'/residents' health. Additionally, industrialized countries are exporting increasing quantities of e-waste to developing countries, complicating the situation finther. The environmental and health issues caused by e-waste in developing countries have resulted in the search for solutions to address this problem before it becomes worse. The main purpose of this research is to find how legislation and regulations be used to improve management of e-waste in developing countries especially studying a case in China on e-waste management, which is a very helpful example to other developing countries which are also facing the same e-waste'issue. A case study methodology was used in this research. To collect data, semi-structured interviews with officers or experts from key relevant government departments/institutions involved in e-waste management/regulation, from electronic appliance producers, from customers at different levels of the value chain, as well as direct and non-participant observations were carried out in six cities of China. For another perspective, the review of relevant departmental documents/publications was also carried out to multiply the source of data. In this case study the analysis relies largely on qualitative data and interpretive methods, applied to what was found in interviews/observations and what is written down in documents/ literatures. The research found that lack of systernatic and enforceable law and regulations has become the most serious obstacle in the e-waste management system and limited the effective control of e-waste in developing countries. Developing subsidiary regulations and standards could support the enforcement of the main national law and regulations on e-waste management and it could farther urge the development of local regulations to improve the enforceýbility of the national law and regulations. Identifying the principal administrative department and coordinating the cooperation of various departments could avoid the duplication of administrative functions among government departments. It is important to construct monitoring systems to supervise the enforcement of the regulations and construct the standards and registration system to qualify the e-waste recycling and disposal enterprises, the secondhand market of electronic products and the regenerative resources market of reusable materials in ewaste. The economic differences made it possible to formulate special regulations for economically backward areas compared to the, more advanced areas even within one country. Improving the existing e-waste recovery system and regulating the payment system according to the local economic conditions for e-waste recycling and disposal could improve the integrated management of e-waste. Producers as well as government and even consumers should be responsible for e-waste together. The government needs to continuously strengthen regulatory systems to ensure that the huge economic benefits from the e-waste recycling industry are not overshadowed by the negative impact on the workers'/residents' welfare and overall environmental sustainability,



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


© Jing Ye

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en