Waste Management and the Green Economy
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Waste Management and the Green Economy

Law and Policy

Edited by Katharina Kummer Peiry, Andreas R. Ziegler and Jorun Baumgartner

Can waste become a profitable business rather than a costly problem, creating green business opportunities and green jobs while protecting the environment? Might this reduce illegal trade and improper recycling of hazardous wastes by making the legitimate alternatives more attractive? Addressing these questions, this book examines environmentally sound waste management as a driver in the transition to a green economy, and discusses how this transition is challenged by technical limitations, weak regulatory environments and lack of financial incentives.
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Chapter 7: Resource recovery from electric and electronic waste

Mathias Schluep

Abstract

The increasing penetration of society with electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) is resulting in growing volumes of waste. Typical of this waste is the combination of its intrinsic value due to the high content of basic and precious metals, with health and environmental hazards caused by the occurrence of toxic substances in combination with inadequate recycling practices. Based on the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), industrialized countries have legislated Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) management. As a consequence, take-back schemes have been established and innovative recycling technologies developed to recover resources from this waste stream. Although collection rates are often low and technical as well as operational aspects to recover scarce and critical metals still need to be addressed, developing countries are catching up with both increasing waste volumes and addressing the challenge with legislation and policies. Inefficient and harmful recycling technologies in the informal sector, however, still prevail.

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