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WEEE management in a circular economy perspective: an overview

Paper Topic: 
CEST2017 - Electric and electronic waste
 

Pages :
-

Corresponing Author: 
Alessandra Cesaro
 
Authors: 
Cesaro A., Marra A., Kuchta K., Belgıorno V. and Van Hullebusch E.D.
Paper ID: 
gnest_02623
Paper Status: 
In press
Date Paper Accepted: 
09/11/2018
Paper online: 
21/11/2018
Abstract: 

The circular economy approach represents a strategy to optimize product lifecycles, thus improving the sustainability of consumption patterns. In the European Union a recent legislative proposal has addressed this concept by promoting waste prevention and re-use as well as extensive recovery of materials. Such approach is particularly interesting for the management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), that is regarded as an urban stock of different metals, and in particular of both precious metals and rare earth elements. The recovery of metals is the main focus of WEEE management strategies and, more recently, it has been receiving a great deal of attention, especially due to the continuously increasing production of this waste stream. However, great room for improvements can still be recognised to ensure the overall sustainability of WEEE management. The present work discusses both the current needs and the main challenges regarding WEEE management in a circular economy perspective. To this end, WEEE generation trend and composition is provided and the legislative framework for its handling is overviewed, in order to point out future perspectives to develop a more sustainable management approach of this waste.

Keywords: 
precious metals, rare earth elements, recovery, recycling, sustainability, waste electrical and electronic equipment