Sustainable Practices of E-Waste Management: Keyactors, Obstacles and Way-forward


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It will discuss E-waste management system in Malaysia in comparison to 3 case studies: China, European Union and South Africa. Three of the main gist of this presentation is to focus on keyactors, obstacles and way-forward (mechanism).

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Sustainable Practices of E-Waste Management: Keyactors, Obstacles and Way-forward

  1. 1. 1Postgraduate Conference on Science and Technology 2012Key Theme: Issues in Science, Technology and Society Mohd Fadhli Rahmat Fakri (SMB 110010) Department of Science & Technology Studies, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya
  2. 2. » Introduction: Key Definitions» Scene-Setting: Malaysia at Glance» E-waste Management Practices: Mechanism» E-Waste Tri-Case Studies: • European Union • China • South Africa» Way Forward & Conclusion» References 2
  3. 3. 1SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT» Latin word: sustinere (tenere, to hold; sus, up) which generally means to maintain, hold-up and endure» Based upon Brundtland Report (2007), SD is illustrated as follows: ˃“…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key components: (i) the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and (ii) the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organizations on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs…” 3
  4. 4. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT» Stephen R. Dovers (2009) further explains the concept of sustainable development from policies and institutionalization perspectives by providing lists of six sustainability principles as follows: 1) short and long term considerations; Factoring in both 2) Integrating environmental, social and economic concerns in policy making; 3) Taking precautionary measures in the face of possible serious environmental degradation; 4) Considering global implications of domestic policy directions; 5) innovative, new policy Utilising approaches, such as participation, institutional change and market mechanisms; and 6) Involving communities in decisions and actions that affect them. 4
  5. 5. » Deepali Sinha Khetriwal et. al. (2007) - electronic waste disposed of by end users and includes a wide range of products, from simple devices to complex goods» First Schedule of Environmental Quality (Schedule Waste) Regulation 2005: as waste from the assembly of E&E appliances that consist of components such as accumulators, mercury switches, glass from cathode-ray tubes and other activated glass or polychlorinated biphenyl-capacitors, or contaminated with cadmium, mercury, lead, nickel, chromium, copper, lithium, silver, manganese or polychlorinated biphenyl.» considered as scheduled wastes under the code SW110 in the First Scheduled, Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations 2005. 5 (Guidelines for Classification of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Malaysia, Department of Environment Malaysia)
  6. 6. » G. David and S. Herat (2008) - to describe both electronic and electrical (E&E) wastes, that is, any items which rely on an electric current or electromagnetic fields in order to operate and contain a hard-drive or significant electronic components and/or a printed circuit board» B M Krishna Nanda (2008) policy perspectives: waste E&E equipment (WEEE), means E&E equipment and its components, subassemblies, and consumables which are part of the product at the time of discarding, that become waste 6
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  10. 10. 210th Malaysia Plan• 12 National Key Economic Transformation Economic Areas (NKEA) Programme (ETP) Chapter 11: includes E&E Revitalizing the E&E Sector• largest single contributor • finalizing undertaking of Solid (manufacturing sector) Waste Management and Public 26.1% of manufacturing Cleansing ( on collection, output operation and management of• largest employer, >40% solid waste); a category on which of total manufacturing nevertheless e-waste has been labor. classified into. • RM0.5 billion allocated for 10Have we sustainably private investmentmanage our e-waste yet?
  11. 11. FactsIn Malaysia, the combined e-waste generatedby households, businesses and institutionssector was• 592,391 tonnes in 2006• 639,493 tonnes in 2007• 624,143 tonnes in 2008,• annual average generated:635,030 tonnes. (News Strait Times. Good Response to E-Waste 11 Project dated July 24, 2012)
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  24. 24. » Question of Who??? Government Industries Public1The Government Industries Public authoritative electrical and electronic encompassing the bodies/governmental producers, manufacturers whole community agencies with at large from and recyclers be it Small decision making every strata other powers in shaping up Medium Enterprises up to than the the direction and the gigantic multinational Government and how e-waste is companies both local and Industries managed in our international country.2E.g. (i) the Ministry of such as Natural Resources consumers, end- and Environment, (ii) users, Non-People the Department of Organizations Environment Malaysia, and (iii) (NPO) and Non- local authorities. Governmental 24 Organizations (NGO).
  25. 25. 4 E-WASTE TRI-CASE STUDIES 1. European Union 2. China 3. South Africa 25
  26. 26. A» average of 3.3 tonnes of electrical goods is the amount of e-waste one UK individual creates in a lifetime (Project Eden. WEEE Man Sculpture, Eden Project Cornwall)» more ‘proactive’ in dealing with e-waste issues» developed several directives in response to concerns regarding increases in the e-waste stream, the toxicity of such waste and its shipment to parts of the developing world. 26
  27. 27. » Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive classifies 10 categories of e-waste namely: 1) large household appliances; 2) small household appliances; 3) IT and telecoms equipment; 4) electronic and electrical tools; 5) consumer equipment; 6) Lighting; 7) Toys, leisure and sports equipment; 8) Automated dispensers; 9) Medical devices; and 10) Monitoring and control devices.» aims at reducing e-waste, treatment, recovery and recycling of e-waste, enhancing environmental performance and producer responsibility 27
  28. 28. » Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), manufacturers are held in a position to ‘take back’ (i.e. provide a basis for recycling even through a third party) products from users (extension of the polluter pay principle and is protected in the European Union’s Fifth Environment Action Programme)» 2nd strategy: Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive: that no goods (from the first eight categories of the WEEE directive) should come onto the EU market after July 1st, 2006 which contains: heavy metals and flame retardant plastics. 28
  29. 29. » subject to regulation in relation to its packaging (under the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive)» anyone wishing to export for recycling must use an Approved Exporter (approved by the Environment Agency) using an appropriate means of recycling or a re-use s» Producer Compliance Schemes to ensure accurate evidence of e-waste is collected, that waste is handled in environmentally appropriate ways (recycled where possible) and that producers meet their obligations 29 under the WEEE directive scheme.
  30. 30. WEEE and RoHS directives practices engages in:» Face to face accountability» Metric forms of accountability» Transparency-based accountability» Engagement-based accountabilityObstacles / Challenges for EU:» Logistics:» Harmonization:» Beyond rules:» Awareness» Enforcement:» Due to challenges they faces, it is possible that EU would turn their attention from awareness raising and education to possible prosecution, public naming of transgressions and less acceptance of 30 defenses based on ignorance.
  31. 31. B E-waste is classified as the largest growing waste category on which more than 70% of the world’s e-waste is sent to China 31
  32. 32. » estimation of 3.2 million tonnes in China domestically in 2010» huge ecologic challenge but potential resource of materials for manufacturing industry» In Southern China , the government has introduced Circular Economy as a new economic development model, a solution to solve resources and environmental problems (Du et. al, 2006)» focusing on the development and use of recycling resources: effective countermeasure in solving depletion of natural stock, energy shortage and environmental pollution which poses as a critical social realistic problems. 32
  33. 33. » Guiyu Town, located in Guangdong Province, China (Famous case study for China)» 4 important stakeholders / sectors in E-waste recycling in China are identified as follows: ˃Individual recyclers; ˃Supply and marketing cooperatives; ˃Manufacturers; and 33 ˃Dismantling companies.
  34. 34. » several issues highlighted from this case are as follows: ˃Formal Recycling vs. Informal Recycling: ˃No incentive policy about recycling and utilization of recycling resources to guide the development of recycling resources (Feng, 2006); and ˃Little input of fund, weak technological development ability, poor processing technology and equipment of recycling resources industry, insufficient environmental consciousness, and some environmental pollutants are not dealt with properly while processing waste plastic is rough and unordered, causing secondary pollution 34 (water and air).
  35. 35. » Bin Li et. al. (2011) recommendations in order for China to be able to properly manage their e-waste issues: ˃ Emphasizing establishment of recycling resources utilization eco-park and proper administration and monitoring; ˃ Setup of disassembling area for international e-waste; ˃ Mechanism of conserving resources and protecting environment should be setup under market-oriented economy through a policy-mix such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), taxation and credit; ˃ From economic perspective, proper financial policy should be formulated in order to support China’s circular economy; ˃ Mechanism of economic compensation for ecological restoration and environmental protection should be explored in depth; ˃ Emphasizing more on Recycling system and mechanism related to Non- People-Organisation (NPO) and Non-Governmental-Organisation (NGO) and coordinative efforts between stakeholders to promote a local circular society; and 35 ˃ Bringing formerly invisible component of the economy sufficiently visible in order to make citizens understand its existence and its goals.
  36. 36. » In brief, China strategies by tied it back to one of the pillars of sustainable development; economic» the rest of stakeholders are bounded by regulations and policy» streamlining all activities regarding e-waste management of a country yet being inclusive to participatory approach by having Non-People Organization and Non- Governmental Organization on board. 36
  37. 37. C» Alan Finlay (2005), enlisted ten several e-waste management fault-lines or challenges faces by South Africa: ˃ Absence of legislation dealing specifically with e-waste; ˃ Most e-waste are located in storage; ˃ Differences of opinion on extent of problem of disposing e-waste (non-hazardous) on landfills; ˃ Due to cost disposal led to some recycling operations ended up with storage of hazardous waste; ˃ Cost of disposal may upset the financial model of current recyclers; ˃ All major e-waste recyclers are based in Gauteng; ˃ Some importing and exporting of ‘raw’ e-waste; ˃ Many ICT multinationals shown little interest in e-waste in South Africa; ˃ Potential threat of small-scale electrochemical processes being 37 introduced; ˃ A lack of general awareness of e-waste amongst public.
  38. 38. Alan Finlay (2005) again recommended severalstrategies as follows:» raising awareness in NGO sector in order to foster better understanding on the implications of e-waste, and where it can take old technology for refurbishment or recycling. ˃ lacking of this key-actor has led to communication gap and potential misalignment of e-waste initiatives.» develop collection and recycling capacity servicing wide range of sector inclusive to homes, small businesses, and themselves. In turn, they could develop partnership for recycling capacity – opportunity for socio-economic development.» to lobby through consumer or other campaigns for ICT vendors to take e-waste seriously to create the power of consumer (market pull). Such strategy is considered as 38 bottom-up approach as the society / community voices up their concerns through their ‘inevitable’ buying power.
  39. 39. Strategies adopted by South Africa in managing their e-wasteissues:» Basel Convention Regional Centre (BCRC)» Set up of an African Institute for Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous and Other Wastes (Ecroignard, 2005);» Set up of multi-stakeholders of an e-waste Working Group (consists of experts, hazardous waste recyclers, the government, IT distributors and BCRC);» Environmental Enforcement Unit a.k.a. Green Scorpions» Adopting Swiss Recycling Model: underlines the practices of high rate of recycling in an environmentally sound manner 39 which are certified and monitored
  40. 40. 5» Each cases presented came with different sets of background and dimension, it is wise for us to properly consider which strategies should be the most ideal and fit in to solve and manage our current issues from local context.» Contextualization: adopting strategies done by other nations and then adapting/integrating them within the context of Malaysia (with possible risks of failure to be endured) 40
  41. 41. Characteristi Malaysia European China South Africa cs / Country Union1 Legislation No specific WEEE and No specific No specific legislation RoHS legislation legislation on E- on E-waste directives on E-waste waste2 Awareness Minimum Average; Minimum Minimum amongst suggesting public education 41 as one solution
  42. 42. Characteristics Malaysia European China South Africa / Country Union3 Presence of Average; but Average; some Minimum; public Minimum; public are Multi Key Actors public still manufacturers are lacking in terms lacking in terms of health lacking and retailers of health and safety and safety issues, NGO is are still off- issues, NGO is rather new chapter. board ‘absent’.4 Prominent 10th MP and WEEE and Circular Economy • Set up of an African Strategy ETP: finalizing RoHS directives Model; focusing on Institute for Adopted undertaking the development Environmentally of Solid and use of recycling Sound Management Waste resources of Hazardous and Management Other Wastes and Public • Setup of E-waste 42 Cleansing Working Group
  43. 43. » to engage the minds of the public to actively participate in this cause to minimize e- waste production; as they are the source of waste production. As in European Union case, they are currently focusing on educating the public through mass media and awareness campaign.» aimed at formulating an e-waste specific regulation or policy such as WEEE (European Union), surely we do not want to be facing overproduction of e-waste in our country and simply tap into other ‘destructive’ option i.e. exporting our e-waste to other part of the world to be dumped in the landfills. 43
  44. 44. » Circular Economy Model another alternative; focus on the practices of reuse rather than recycling in order to increase environmental performance and to provide socio-economic benefits to the peoples through job opportunities. 44
  45. 45. » Holfontein site vist (2005), with an upward ‘push’ in the hierarchy, with the preference being that waste avoidance and recycling or re-use are maximized, thus 45 the downstream waste can be minimized.
  46. 46. After weighing pros and cons:» it should be noted that with top-down and bottom-up approaches, we could bring multi key actors from the government, industries, and public together on board in working out the best possible practices to solve e-waste issues in Malaysia.» All in all, it is up to us to decide the best sustainable way to manage our e-waste within our local context either to be ‘reactive’ or ‘proactive’. Hence, the actions that we choose will secure the sustainability of future generations be it from 46 environment, economic, and social pillars of sustainable development.
  47. 47. Online Article / Forum / Information on Mother / Faith Test derived from:1) G. Davis & S. Herat (2008) Electronic waste: The local government perspective in Queensland, Australia in Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 52: 1031–10392) B M Krishna Manda E-waste Management Policy in India: Stakeholders perceptions and media attention, IIIEE Theses 2008:04 – Master’s Thesis3) Deepali Sinha Khetriwal, Philipp Kraeuchi, Rolf Widmer, (2007) Producer responsibility for e-waste management: Key issues for consideration – Learning from the Swiss experience. Journal of Environmental Management, 2007. xx: 1–134) Xuefeng Wen, Xiaohua Zhou and Hualong Hu, (2007) The new process in integrated e-waste management in China5) Guidelines for Classification of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment in Malaysia. Department of Environment Malaysia. Accessed from on October 1st, 2012.6) 10th Malaysia Plan: Chapter 3 – Creating the Environment for Economic 47 Growth.7)
  48. 48. Online Article / Forum / Information on Mother / Faith Test derivedfrom:8) News Strait Times Online. Good Response to E-Waste Project dated July 24, 2012. Accessed from on November 15, 2012.9) Environmental Protection Agency, “Computer Display Industry and Technology Profile”, EPA 744.R.98.005, December 199810) E. Williams, (2005) International activities on E-waste and guidelines for future work, United Nations University, in: Third Workshop on Material Cycles and Waste Management in Asia, National Institute of Environmental Sciences: Tsukuba, Japan.11) Project Eden. WEEE Man Sculpture, Eden Project Cornwall. Accessed from on December 1st, 2012.12) Du, H.Z., Li, B. and Ding, H.J. (2009) Circular Economy and Regional Economic Development in the Zheijang Province, Southern China, International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management (IJETM), 11:4, p. 319-32913) Feng, Z.J., eds. (2006) Circular Economy and Development of Shanghai. People’s Publishing House: Beijing.14) Li, B., Du, H. and Bao, J., (2011) Policy on E-waste in China – Case Study of Guiyu Town, Guangdong Province. International Conference on Computer Distributed Control and Intelligent Environmental Monitoring.15) Finlay, A. (2005) E-Waste Challenges in Developing Countries: South Africa Case Study. Issue Papers for Association for Progressive Communications.16) Basel Convention Regional Centre (BCRC). Derived from, 48 accessed on October 2012, 16.
  49. 49. Images used in this presentation found from: ˃,,,,,,,,,,,, environment-clean-,,, 49