A Circular Economy Approach to Improve E-waste Recycling in California: Economic Potential and Policy Options
Date of Graduation
Project/Capstone - Global access
Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)
College of Arts and Sciences
Prof. Stephanie Siehr
Prof. Allison Luengen
The higher consumption rates of electronic devices along with their short life cycles and few repair options poses a huge challenge for E-waste industries to manage them effectively. E-waste comprises of hazardous materials and toxic constituents that can affect the environment and public health through improper disposal. However, they also contain few valuable materials that, if recovered, can reduce the dependence on virgin raw materials. Circular economy has the potential to utilize these valuable materials and gain environment and socio-economic benefits. The research explains how the adoption of a circular economy approach can help improve the E-waste recycling in California through evaluating its recovery economic potential and policy options. The economic analysis estimates the E-waste generation in California and evaluates the recovery potential of secondary resources embedded in E-waste which is estimated to be 0.31 billion dollars for CRT electronic waste. The analysis also identifies copper, silver, glass, plastics, and lead as the high potential materials that, if utilized, can reduce the burden on mining and importing them. The policy analysis of the California’s proposed EPR policy in Futures Project recommends CalRecycle to claim payments for recyclers based on their efficiency rates and not based on the weight of device. The comparative analysis of California’s E-waste recycling program with the Switzerland WEEE recycling program identifies the potential of manufacturers collaboration to manage E-waste effectively. I have reviewed the case studies of different organizations who have adopted the circular economy approach and it highlights mainly the giant tech companies who have initiated towards a circular electronics path implying a lot of work needs to be done by small and medium sized organizations.
SHAH, KRIPA, "A Circular Economy Approach to Improve E-waste Recycling in California: Economic Potential and Policy Options" (2022). Master's Projects and Capstones. 1487.
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