The use of relative potential risk as a prioritization tool for household WEEE management in Thailand


Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has become one of the major global concerns in solid waste management due to its continuously increasing volume and adverse effects on the environment and human health. This study aims to use the relative potential risk as a specific device to prioritize 8 WEEE types in Thailand based on contents and toxicity of toxic metals in printed circuit boards (PCBs), including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, and lead, in terms of potential harm indicator (PHI) and quantity of PCBs. The results indicated that the most significant type of WEEE based on relative potential risk is liquid crystal display television, while the least significant types of WEEE are refrigerator and washing machine. However, PCBs also contain precious metals (gold, silver, and palladium) which are crucial for WEEE recycling economy. Thus, the ratio between precious metals and toxic heavy metal was determined as a simple tool to assess the cost and benefit. According to the results, mobile phone has been the highest economic wealthiest while refrigerator has been the lowest. The findings in this study will be useful as a tool for policy makers to decide the sustainable WEEE management.

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This research was supported by the National Research Council of Thailand, Research Program of Industrial Waste Management—Policies and Practices, Center of Excellence on Hazardous Substance Management (HSM), Chulalongkorn University, and Faculty of Science and Technology, Songkhla Rajabhat University, Thailand.

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Correspondence to Siriporn Borrirukwisitsak.

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Borrirukwisitsak, S., Khwamsawat, K. & Leewattananukul, S. The use of relative potential risk as a prioritization tool for household WEEE management in Thailand. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag (2021).

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  • WEEE
  • Waste management
  • Risk
  • Thailand