Environmental impacts and benefits of state-of-the-art technologies for e-waste management

IKHLAYEL, M. 2017. Environmental impacts and benefits of state-of-the-art technologies for E-waste management. Waste Manag, 68, 458-474.

Abstract

This study aims to evaluate the environmental impacts and benefits of state-of-the-art technologies for proper e-waste handling using Jordan as a case study. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was employed to evaluate five advanced management systems represent state-of-the-art treatment technologies, including sanitary landfilling; proper recycling of metals, materials, and precious metals (PMs); and incineration of plastic and the hazardous portion of printed circuit boards (PCBs). Six e-waste products that contribute the most to the e-waste in Jordan were included in the assessment of each scenario, which resulted in 30 total cases of e-waste management. The findings indicated that landfills for the entire components of the e-waste stream are the worst option and should be avoided. The most promising e-waste management scenario features integrated e-waste processes based on the concept of Integrated Waste Management (IWM), including recycling materials such as non-PMs and PMs, incinerating plastic and the hazardous content of PCBs using the energy recovered from incineration, and using sanitary landfills of residues. For this scenario, the best environmental performance was obtained for the treatment of mobile phones. Incineration of the portion of hazardous waste using energy recovery is an option that deserves attention. Because scenario implementation depends on more than just the environmental benefits (e.g., economic cost and technical aspects), the study proposes a systematic approach founded on the IWM concept for e-waste management scenario selection.