Advertisement

Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 656–666 | Cite as

Electronic waste and informal recycling in Kathmandu, Nepal: challenges and opportunities

  • Keshav Parajuly
  • Khim B. Thapa
  • Ciprian Cimpan
  • Henrik Wenzel
REGIONAL CASE STUDY

Abstract

In the absence of relevant policies and supporting infrastructure, many developing countries are struggling to establish a resource-oriented waste management system. In countries like Nepal, where informal recycling practices are prevalent, the lack of understanding of the existing system hinders any advancement in this sector. We characterize the informal recycling chain in Kathmandu, where a workforce of more than 10,000 people handles the recyclable items in various waste streams, including electronic waste (e-waste). A field study, supported by key informant interviews, questionnaire surveys, and site observations was conducted to understand the local recycling sector, the lifecycle of electronic products, and the relevant stakeholders. E-waste is found to be an integral part of the existing solid waste management chain and, therefore, needs to be addressed collectively. We identify the challenges and opportunities towards building a sustainable system for managing e-waste, and offer propositions for a resource-oriented waste management system. This study can serve as a baseline for future research on informal waste recycling, e-waste in particular, in Nepal and similar developing economies that have not attracted a lot of attention until now.

Keywords

Electronic waste Developing country E-waste Informal sector Nepal 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Foundation Idella for supporting this work. We thank the officials of municipalities for providing the links to other stakeholders. Special thanks go to the scavengers, scrap dealers, and electronics sales and repair shops in Kathmandu for participating in the research and to the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions.

Supplementary material

10163_2017_610_MOESM1_ESM.doc (4.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 4540 KB)

References

  1. 1.
    Ongondo FO, Williams ID, Cherrett TJ (2011) How are WEEE doing? A global review of the management of electrical and electronic wastes. Waste Manag 31(4):714–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Li J et al (2013) Regional or global WEEE recycling. Where to go? Waste Manag 33(4):923–934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    European Parliament, Directive 2012/19/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) (recast). 2012, Official Journal of the European Union.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Huisman J (2013) (W)EEE Mass balance and market structure in Belgium, Brussels. http://www.weee-forum.org/system/files/documents/2011_weee_mass_balance_and_market_structure_in_belgium.pdf. Accessed 5 June 2016
  5. 5.
    Bigum M, Brogaard L, Christensen TH (2012) Metal recovery from high-grade WEEE: a life cycle assessment. J Hazard Mater 207–208:8–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dirk N et al (2014) A multidimensional indicator set to assess the benefits of WEEE material recycling. J Cleaner Prod 83:305–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hischier R, Wäger P, Gauglhofer J (2005) Does WEEE recycling make sense from an environmental perspective? Environ Impact Assess Rev 25(5):525–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wager PA, Hischier R, Eugster M (2011) Environmental impacts of the Swiss collection and recovery systems for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE): a follow-up. Sci Total Environ 409(10):1746–1756CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kiddee P, Naidu R, Wong MH (2013) Electronic waste management approaches: An overview. Waste Manage (Oxford) 33(5):1237–1250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Böni H, Schluep M, Widmer R (2015) Recycling of ICT equipment in industrialized and developing countries. In: ICT Innovations for Sustainability. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 310. Springer, ChamGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ezeah C, Fazakerley JA, Roberts CL (2013) Emerging trends in informal sector recycling in developing and transition countries. Waste Manage (Oxford) 33(11):2509–2519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chi X et al (2011) Informal electronic waste recycling: a sector review with special focus on China. Waste Manage (Oxford) 31(4):731–742CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wu C et al (2014) Spatial characteristics of cadmium in topsoils in a typical e-waste recycling area in southeast China and its potential threat to shallow groundwater. Sci Total Environ 472:556–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fujimori T et al (2012) Impact of metals in surface matrices from formal and informal electronic-waste recycling around Metro Manila, the Philippines, and intra-Asian comparison. J Hazard Mater 221–222:139–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wilson DC, Velis C, Cheeseman C (2006) Role of informal sector recycling in waste management in developing countries. Habitat International 30(4):797–808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Tue NM et al (2013) Contamination of indoor dust and air by polychlorinated biphenyls and brominated flame retardants and relevance of non-dietary exposure in Vietnamese informal e-waste recycling sites. Environ Int 51:160–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wath SB et al (2010) A roadmap for development of sustainable E-waste management system in India. Sci Total Environ 409(1):19–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Afroz R et al (2013) Survey and analysis of public knowledge, awareness and willingness to pay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—a case study on household WEEE management. J Cleaner Prod 52:185–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Umair S, Björklund A, Petersen EE (2015) Social impact assessment of informal recycling of electronic ICT waste in Pakistan using UNEP SETAC guidelines. Resourc Conserv Recycl 95:46–57Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Qu Y et al (2013) A review of developing an e-wastes collection system in Dalian, China. J Cleaner Prod 52:176–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Blaser F, Schluep M (2012) Economic Feasibility of e-Waste Treatment in Tanzania. Swiss Federal Institute for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), St. Gallen. http://ewasteguide.info/files/Blaser_2012_UNIDO-Empa.pdf. Accessed 5 June 2016
  22. 22.
    de Oliveira CR, Bernardes AM, Gerbase AE (2012) Collection and recycling of electronic scrap: a worldwide overview and comparison with the Brazilian situation. Waste Manage (Oxford) 32(8):1592–1610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Manhart A, Amera T, Belay M (2013) E-waste Country Study Ethiopia. Öko-Institut e.V./PAN Ethiopia, p 46. http://ewasteguide.info/files/Manhart_2013_StEP.pdf. Accessed 5 June 2016
  24. 24.
    Zhou L, Xu Z (2012) Response to waste electrical and electronic equipments in China: legislation, recycling system, and advanced integrated process. Environ Sci Technol 46(9):4713–4724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sinha-Khetriwal D, Kraeuchi P, Schwaninger M (2005) A comparison of electronic waste recycling in Switzerland and in India. Environ Impact Assess Rev 25(5):492–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Widmer R et al (2005) Global perspectives on e-waste. Environ Impact Assess Rev 25(5):436–458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Practical Action (2014) PRISM Poverty Reduction of Informal Workers in Solid Waste Management Sector. http://practicalaction.org/poverty-reduction-of-informal-workers-in-solid-waste-management-prism-nepal. Accessed 5 June 2016
  28. 28.
    World Computer Exchange (2016) Preparing for 5th shipment to Nepal. http://www.worldcomputerexchange.org/preparing-5th-shipment-nepal. Accessed 8 Nov 2016
  29. 29.
    Parajuly K (2016) Pollution: clean up the air in Kathmandu. Nature 533(7603):321–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Parajuly K et al (2016) End-of-life resource recovery from emerging electronic products—a case study of robotic vacuum cleaners. J Cleaner Prod 137:652–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Wang F et al (2013) Enhancing e-waste estimates: improving data quality by multivariate Input-Output Analysis. Waste Manage (Oxford) 33(11):2397–2407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Jain A, Sareen R (2006) E-waste assessment methodology and validation in India. J Mater Cycles Waste Manage 8(1):40–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Liu X, Tanaka M, Matsui Y (2006) Generation amount prediction and material flow analysis of electronic waste: a case study in Beijing, China. Waste Management Research 24(5):434–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kahhat RF, Williams ED (2010) Adoption and disposition of new and used computers in Lima, Peru. Resourc Conserv Recycl 54(8):501–505Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Jones H, Basnett Y (2013) Foreign employment and inclusive growth in Nepal: what can be done to improve impacts for the people and the country? http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/523abb634.pdf. Accessed 5 June 2016
  36. 36.
    Parajuly K, Habib K, Liu G (2016) Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in Denmark: Flows, quantities and management. Resourc Conserv Recycl. doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2016.08.004
  37. 37.
    Government of Nepal (2011) Solid Waste Management Act 2011, Solid Waste Management Technical Support Center. http://swmtsc.gov.np/act-and-rules. Accessed 5 June 2016
  38. 38.
    UNEP (2012) E-waste Volume III: WEEE/E-waste “Take-back system”. http://ewasteguide.info/files/UNEP_2012_EwasteManual3.pdf. Accessed 5 June 2016
  39. 39.
    Yu L et al (2014) The development of WEEE management and effects of the fund policy for subsidizing WEEE treating in China. Waste Manag 34(9):1705–1714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Government of India (2016) E-waste Management Rules, Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, New Delhi. http://www.moef.gov.in/sites/default/files/EWM%20Rules%202016%20english%2023.03.2016.pdf. Accessed 5 June 2016

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SDU Life Cycle Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology and Environmental TechnologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringInstitute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Pulchowk CampusLalitpurNepal

Personalised recommendations