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Eco-efficiency of take-back and recycling, a comprehensive approach

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2 Author(s)
J. Huisman ; Design for Sustainability Res. Program, Delft Univ. of Technol., Netherlands ; A. Stevels

A key question in setting up take-back systems for discarded consumer electronics is how much environmental improvement can be realized per amount of money invested. With the eco-efficiency concept developed, the environmental and economic performance of single products within various end-of-life scenarios can be quantified as well as the contribution of individual materials and material fractions to this performance. Also analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of optimization and changes in the system like, glass recycling and plastic recycling, and design for end-of-life activities is determined. Finally the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed WEEE/RoHS Directives can be reviewed. The strength of the eco-efficiency concept is demonstrated on a large number of products and scenarios. It is shown that, "eco-efficient improvements" vary substantially per product category. The quantitative eco-efficiency concept as such is proven to be very useful in monitoring take-back system performance in general and in addressing the role of all actors and stakeholders in particular. Subjects addressed are the performance of individual products in complex end-of-life systems, the eco-efficiency of plastic recycling versus the size of housings and many other eco-efficiency directions.

Published in:

Electronics and the Environment, 2003. IEEE International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

19-22 May 2003