E-Waste Research Initiatives

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Since 2010, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation aims to accelerate the transition to the circular economy. EPSC members including, Apple, Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Lexmark and Philips are members of the EMF’s Circular Economy 101 (CE100). The foundation provides a platform for businesses to develop circular economy initiative and to address challenges to implement them.

  • Consumer Technology Used in U.S. Households

The Rochester Institute of Technology, Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab, and the Consumer Technology Association collaborated on a research project to determine the material footprint of consumer technology being used in U.S. households from 1990-2015.

The study shows that although the number of tech products has increased, the material consumption has declined to levels reported in the early 1990s. Three important drivers of material reduction: technological improvements, lighter product materials, and the increase product multi-functionality.

Professor Lepawski’s research involves mapping the international trade and traffic of electronic waste. Follow the link provided to read Lepawski’s most recent article, « The changing geography of global trade in electronics discards: time to rethink the e-waste problem« , published in The Geographic Journal in March 2014.

StEP is a multi-stakeholder research initiative sponsered by United Nations University. StEP researches, initiates, and facilitates global strategies for the sustainable handling of e-waste through task forces devoted to researching five key areas: policy, redesign, reuse, recycle, and capacity building.

Administered by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas, the Sustainability Consortium is comprised of over 100 global organizations from various sectors working together to create sustainability-related knowledge and develop cross-sector solutions. The Electronics Sector Working Group leads the investigation of sustainability issues and improvement opportunities for a variety of electronic product categories.

Established through the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, PACE is a forum for governments, industry leaders, non-governmental organizations and academia to tackle the environmentally sound management, refurbishment, recycling, and disposal of used and end-of-life computing equipment.

Many jurisdictions have conducted consumer opinion polls regarding support for visible fees on electronics to cover the cost of recycling. There is strong consumer support for transparent, visible fees.

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