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Reducing Life Cycle Environmental Impacts of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Recycling: Case Study on Dishwashers
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.).
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Environmental Strategies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5535-6368
2010 (English)In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, E-ISSN 1530-9290, Vol. 14, no 2, 258-269 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Collection and treatment of waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is regulated in the European Union by the WEEE Directive. Producers are responsible for take-back and recycling of discarded equipment. Valuable materials are, however, at risk of "getting lost" in current processes. Thus, strategies to minimize losses are sought after. The material hygiene (MH) concept was introduced to address this issue. Structural features, which are important for the outcome of reuse, recovery, and recycling, were investigated in an earlier field study of discarded dishwashers. It was proposed that a prestep, manual removal of copper prior to shredding could increase the purity of recovered material fractions. This article builds on the field study and theoretical reasoning underlying the MH concept. Dishwashers are assumed to be designed for disassembly when the prestep is introduced. A limited life cycle assessment was performed to determine whether the proposed prestep may be environmentally beneficial in a life cycle perspective. Two alternatives were analyzed: Case 1: the current shredding process. Case 2: prestep removal of copper before shredding. Targeted disassembly prior to shredding may reduce the abiotic depletion and global warming potential in a life cycle perspective. The prestep results in increased copper recovery, but, more important, copper contamination of the recovered steel fractions is reduced. The results also highlight the importance of minimizing energy consumption in all process stages.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 14, no 2, 258-269 p.
Keyword [en]
copper removal, design for environment (DfE), industrial ecology, life, cycle assessment (LCA), material hygiene, shredding, extended producer responsibility, weee
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-19404DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-9290.2009.00191.xISI: 000277002900010Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-77954492438OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-19404DiVA: diva2:337451
Note
QC 20100525. Tidigare titel: Reducing life cycle environmental impacts of WEEE recycling by introducing a targeted disassembly operation: Case study on dishwashersAvailable from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Material Hygiene: An EcoDesign mindset for recycling of products
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Material Hygiene: An EcoDesign mindset for recycling of products
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

In recent years the end-of-life phase has come into focus. European Union directives have been issued regulating certain product groups and producer responsibility. Vehicles and electronic products are the first to be identified and targeted. EU environmental legislation acts as a driver for increased reuse, recycling and recovery. The overall aim of the presented activities has been to increase the effectiveness of current recycling practices, both in terms of design changes and end-of-life treatment process suggestions. A “pre-step” operation has been suggested, in order to either salvage valuable (or toxic) material or to remove diluting bulk material. As this thesis is focused on the recycling of white-goods specifically dishwashers the suggested prestep would be removal of valuable copper prior to shredding. A life cycle assessment (LCA) study has been conducted. The purpose of this study was to determine if using a pre-step is beneficial from an environmental point of view or not. Furthermore, an experiment on the usability of recycled polymers from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has been performed. Based on this work polymer recycling process suggestions are presented. Based on research in the fields of design for recycling, design for disassembly and EcoDesign the material hygiene (MH) concept of design for recycling is formulated. This concept is tested on a disassembly field study carried out at a waste collection facility and a polymer recycling experiment at a refrigerator fragmentation plant. Five MH factors are suggested: MH Mix, MH Identification, MH Resources, and MH Weight and MH Map. Additionally, a MH mind-set is presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2008. xii, 82 p.
Series
Trita-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2008:07
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9529 (URN)978-91-7415-172-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-11-28, Sal M2, KTH, Brinellvägen 64, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100816Available from: 2008-11-12 Created: 2008-11-12 Last updated: 2010-08-16Bibliographically approved

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