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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

Postal Subscription Code 80-973

2018 Impact Factor: 3.883

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2017, Vol. 11 Issue (5) : 7
Comparison on End-of-Life strategies of WEEE in China based on LCA
Bin Lu1, Xiaolong Song2, Jianxin Yang1(), Dong Yang3
1. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
2. Shanghai Collaborative Innovation Centre for WEEE Recycling, Shanghai Polytechnic University, Shanghai 201209, China
3. SDAS Key Laboratory of Scientific Decision-Making, Institute of Science and Technology for Development of Shandong, Shandong Province Academy of Sciences, Jinan 250014, China
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Unit and Components Reuse are compared with materials recovery based LCA.

The obsolete refrigerator and Power Supply of computer are taken as the examples.

End-of-Life hierarchy is reasonable for the obsolete power supply of computer.

Reuse is not necessarily suitable for obsolete refrigerators.

The secondary lifespan of reused products/components is the key factor.

As the Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) are upgraded more frequently in China, a large quantity of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) was and will be generated. It becomes an urgent issue to develop and adopt an effective End-of-Life (EoL) strategy for EEE in order to balance the resource recovery and environmental impacts. In an EoL strategy hierarchy for EEE, reuse strategy is usually deemed to be prior to materials recovery and other strategies. But in practice, the advantages and disadvantages of different strategies are always context-dependent. Therefore, main EoL strategies for EEE in China need to be evaluated in environment and resources aspects from the life cycle perspective. In this study, the obsolete refrigerator and Power Supply Unit (PSU) of desktop PC are both taken as the target products. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is applied to assess the environmental impacts of different EoL scenarios in China: Unit Reuse Scenario (URS), Component Reuse Scenario (CRS) and Materials Recovery Scenario (MRS). The LCA results show that the EoL strategies hierarchy is reasonable for the part of computer, but not necessarily suitable for obsolete refrigerators. When the policy makers promote or demote one EoL strategy especially reuse, it is necessary to take subsequent impacts into consideration.

Keywords End-of-Life      Waste electrical and electronic equipment      Life cycle assessment      Reuse     
Corresponding Authors: Jianxin Yang   
Issue Date: 31 October 2017
 Cite this article:   
Bin Lu,Xiaolong Song,Jianxin Yang, et al. Comparison on End-of-Life strategies of WEEE in China based on LCA[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2017, 11(5): 7.
Fig.1  System boundary of the LCA study
Raw materials /ScenariosMR_PSU (kg)CR_PSU (kg)UR_PSU (kg)
Main fuelsCoal156.0367.16-231.08
Crude oil19.8013.70-31.30
Natural gas0.350.18-0.54
Main metalsIron ore2.882.46-2.20
Copper ore2.540.92-32.02
Tab.1  Life cycle inventory- Important Raw Materials- Fuels and metals
Fig.2  LCIA Results of 3 EoL Scenarios of PSU
Fig.3  LCIA damage categories results of PSU
Fig.4  LCIA results of Functional Unit A (a) and Functional Unit B (b)
ScenariosMR_PSU (kg)CR_PSU (kg)UR_PSU (kg)
Basic scenario19.8013.70-31.30
Long-distance scenario (2500 km)---30.80
Short-distance scenario (200 km)19.3013.20-
Tab.2  Sensitivity analysis—Consumption of crude oil
Fig.5  System boundary of LCA on obsolete refrigerator
Fig.6  LCIA impact (a) and damage (b) categories of MRS and URS (2nd lifespan is 2 years)
Fig.7  LCIA impact (a) and damage (b) categories of MRS and URS (2nd lifespan is 3 years)
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