Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Handbook

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Handbook

1st Edition - August 30, 2012

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  • Editors: Vannessa Goodship, Ab Stevels, Jaco Huisman
  • eBook ISBN: 9780857096333

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Electrical and electronic waste is a growing problem as volumes are increasing fast. Rapid product innovation and replacement, especially in information and communication technologies (ICT), combined with the migration from analog to digital technologies and to flat-screen televisions and monitors has resulted in some electronic products quickly reaching the end of their life. The EU directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) aims to minimise WEEE by putting organizational and financial responsibility on producers and distributors for collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of WEEE. Therefore all stakeholders need to be well-informed about their WEEE responsibilities and options. While focussing on the EU, this book draws lessons for policy and practice from all over the world.Part one introduces the reader to legislation and initiatives to manage WEEE. Part two discusses technologies for the refurbishment, treatment and recycling of waste electronics. Part three focuses on electronic products that present particular challenges for recyclers. Part four explores sustainable design of electronics and supply chains. Part five discusses national and regional WEEE management schemes and part six looks at corporate WEEE management strategies.With an authoritative collection of chapters from an international team of authors, Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) handbook is designed to be used as a reference by policy-makers, producers and treatment operators in both the developed and developing world.

Key Features

  • Draws lessons for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) policy and practice from around the world
  • Discusses legislation and initiatives to manage WEEE, including global e-waste initiatives, EU legislation relating to electronic waste, and eco-efficiency evaluation of WEEE take-back systems
  • Sections cover technologies for refurbishment, treatment and recycling of waste, sustainable design of electronics and supply chains, national and regional waste management schemes, and corporate WEEE management strategies


Designers, producers and distributors of electronic products; Companies involved in waste management and recycling of WEEE metals, glass and plastics; Material scientists and engineers; Environmental engineers; Waste consultants; Government agencies; Policy makers

Table of Contents

  • Contributor contact details

    Woodhead Publishing Series in Electronic and Optical Materials


    Wecycle, join us in recycling

    Part I: Legislation and initiatives to manage WEEE

    Chapter 1: Global e-waste initiatives


    1.1 Introduction

    1.2 Problems associated with e-waste

    1.3 Global e-waste management initiatives

    1.4 Synergizing e-waste initiatives

    1.5 Future trends

    Chapter 2: EU legislation relating to electronic waste: the WEEE and RoHS Directives and the REACH regulations


    2.1 Introduction

    2.2 The EU and the environment

    2.3 The Waste Framework Directive

    2.4 The WEEE Directive

    2.5 The WEEE Directive in operation

    2.6 The recast of the WEEE Directive

    2.7 Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS)

    2.8 The Commission’s proposal on a recast RoHS

    2.9 Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals Directive (REACH)

    2.10 Review of REACH

    2.11 Summary

    Chapter 3: The present recast of the WEEE Directive


    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 Review studies proposing options for the recast of the WEEE Directive

    3.3 The current proposals for the recast of WEEE

    3.4 Further developments (July-September 2011)

    3.5 Conclusions

    Chapter 4: The WEEE Forum and the WEEELABEX project


    4.1 Introduction

    4.2 What is the WEEE Forum?

    4.3 Context of WEEELABEX

    4.4 WEEELABEX phase I: standards

    4.5 WEEELABEX phase II: conformity verification

    4.6 Conclusions

    Chapter 5: Conformity assessment of WEEE take-back schemes: the case of Switzerland*


    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 Approach of the conformity assessment

    5.3 Scope and elements of the conformity assessment

    5.4 Future trends

    5.5 Conclusions

    Chapter 6: Eco-efficiency evaluation of WEEE take-back systems


    6.1 Introduction

    6.2 How much WEEE is out there?

    6.3 How do WEEE quantify and prioritise environmental impacts?

    6.4 How much do WEEE have to pay?

    6.5 How do WEEE benefit from impact assessment in policy development?

    6.6 Conclusions

    Part II: Technologies for refurbishment, treatment and recycling of waste electronics

    Chapter 7: The materials of WEEE


    7.1 The material content of WEEE

    7.2 Materials and their recovery and recycling technologies

    7.3 The transition from cathode ray tube (CRT) to liquid crystal display (LCD) display screens and its implications for materials recycling

    7.4 The loss of scarce elements

    7.5 Novel materials recovery approaches

    7.6 New materials and their implications

    7.7 Summary and conclusions

    Chapter 8: Refurbishment and reuse of WEEE


    8.1 Need for WEEE refurbishment and reuse

    8.2 Reuse processes and their role in sustainable manufacturing

    8.3 Industry sector specific example: refurbishment of computers

    8.4 Role of the third sector

    8.5 Issues in WEEE refurbishment and reuse

    8.6 Future trends

    8.7 Summary of WEEE reuse and refurbishment

    Chapter 9: Shredding, sorting and recovery of metals from WEEE: linking design to resource efficiency


    9.1 Introduction

    9.2 Theory of recycling

    9.3 Product design, shredding and liberation of waste products

    9.4 Automated and manual sorting of WEEE products

    9.5 Metallurgical processing

    9.6 (Dynamic) modelling recycling systems performance

    9.7 Conclusions

    Chapter 10: Mechanical methods of recycling plastics from WEEE


    10.1 Introduction

    10.2 Introduction to waste collection and sorting

    10.3 Methods of sorting small particle size polymer waste

    10.4 Conversion of WEEE to a reusable material

    10.5 Effectiveness of the WEEE legislation to date

    10.6 Remanufacturing using WEEE polymers

    10.7 Future trends

    10.8 Sources of further information and advice

    Chapter 11: Pyrolysis of WEEE plastics


    11.1 Introduction

    11.2 Pyrolysis processes and characterization of the pyrolysis fractions

    11.3 Pyrolysis of printed circuit boards (PCBs)

    11.4 Pyrolysis of plastics

    11.5 Environmental concerns about the products of pyrolysis of WEEE

    11.6 Future trends

    Chapter 12: Chemical or feedstock recycling of WEEE products


    12.1 Introduction

    12.2 Characteristics of WEEE plastics

    12.3 European feedstock recycling initiatives since the 1990s

    12.4 Conclusions and future trends

    Part III: Electronic products that present particular challenges for recyclers

    Chapter 13: Recycling printed circuit boards


    13.1 Introduction

    13.2 Materials

    13.3 Flame retardants

    13.4 Costs and benefits of recycling printed circuit boards (PCBs)

    13.5 Challenges and future trends

    Chapter 14: Recycling liquid crystal displays


    14.1 Introduction

    14.2 Liquid crystal displays (LCDs)

    14.3 Recycling processes for liquid crystal displays (LCDs)

    14.4 Hazardous materials in liquid crystal displays (LCDs)

    14.5 Recovery of valuable materials

    14.6 Re-use of liquid crystal display (LCD) equipment and components

    14.7 Future trends

    Chapter 15: Recycling cooling and freezing appliances


    15.1 Introduction

    15.2 Challenges relating to WEEE refrigerators and freezers

    15.3 Requirements for de-gassing processes

    15.4 Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

    15.5 Future trends

    15.6 Techniques for separation of fridge plastics

    15.7.Sources of further information and advice

    15.8. Conclusions

    Chapter 16: End-of-life options for printed electronics


    16.1 Introduction

    16.2 Printed electronics

    16.3 End-of-life options and their challenges

    16.4 Consideration of EU legislation

    16.5 Future trends

    16.6 Sources of further information and advice

    Chapter 17: Recycling batteries


    17.1 Introduction

    17.2 Main directives worldwide for spent batteries

    17.3 Methods for the recovery of metals from spent batteries

    17.4 Future trends

    Part IV: Sustainable design of electronics and supply chains

    Chapter 18: ErP – the European Directive on ecodesign


    18.1 Introduction

    18.2 Trends leading to ecodesign regulation

    18.3 Introducing the ErP Directive

    18.4 Examining the Framework Directive concept

    18.5 Comparing ErP and WEEE approaches

    18.6 Status of ErP implementation and coverage of end-of-life (EoL) aspects

    18.7 Conclusion

    Chapter 19: Sustainable electronic product design


    19.1 Introduction

    19.2 Drivers for sustainability and ecodesign

    19.3 How to do design for sustainability (DfS)

    19.4 Sustainable materials and manufacturing processes

    19.5 Examples of sustainable electronic product design

    19.6 Future trends

    19.7 Sources of further information and advice

    Chapter 20: Reducing hazardous substances in electronics


    20.1 Hazardous substances and their functions in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE)

    20.2 Legislative bans of hazardous substances in EEE: the RoHS Directive

    20.3 Environmental, technological and economic impacts of the RoHS substance restrictions

    20.4 Differentiated approaches for the use and ban of hazardous substances

    20.6 Appendix: abbreviations

    Chapter 21: Examining subsidy impacts on recycled WEEE material flows


    21.1 Introduction

    21.2 A multi-tiered decentralized reverse production system (RPS) problem

    21.3 Insights from decentralized RPS case study

    21.4 Conclusions and discussions

    21.5 Acknowledgments

    Part V: National and regional WEEE management schemes

    Chapter 22: WEEE management in Europe: learning from best practice


    22.1 Introduction

    22.2 The waste strategy within the EU

    22.3 The WEEE Directive and the RoHS framework

    22.4 Extended producer responsibility (EPR) and polluter pays principles and WEEE management

    22.5 National waste recovery schemes: case studies

    22.6 Summing up and discussion

    22.7 Conclusions and recommendations

    22.8 Acknowledgements

    22.10 Appendix: abbreviations

    Chapter 23: WEEE management in China


    23.1 Introduction

    23.2 Infrastructure: collecting, processing, recycling facilities

    23.3 Informal and formal recycling

    23.4 Contamination from landfill and incineration

    23.5 Environmental impacts

    23.6 Management of hazardous materials

    23.7 Knowledge centers of excellence

    23.8 Future trends

    23.9 Sources of further information and advice

    23.10 Acknowledgements

    Chapter 24: WEEE management in the USA and India: research and education for a responsible approach to managing WEEE


    24.1 Introduction

    24.2 Local situational analysis of health and safety monitoring practices in WEEE recycling facilities in the US

    24.3 What are the issues for the WEEE recyclers?

    24.4 What do recycling workers expect from this job?

    24.5 What were the observations at the ECS Refining WEEE treatment site?

    24.6 Discussion and implications

    24.7 Recommendations to ECS Refining and similar facilities elsewhere in the US and India for tackling WEEE recycling issues

    24.8 Conclusions

    24.9 Sources of further information and advice

    24.10 Acknowledgements

    24.12 Appendix: interview question list

    Chapter 25: WEEE management in Japan


    25.1 Introduction

    25.2 Japan’s home appliance recycling system: purpose and background

    25.3 The collection rate

    25.4 Cost and recycling quality

    25.5 Export problems

    25.6 Economic analysis for urban mining

    25.7 Conclusions

    Chapter 26: WEEE management in Africa


    26.1 Introduction

    26.2 Volumes of WEEE imported and generated in African countries

    26.3 Impacts of current WEEE recycling practices

    26.4 WEEE policy and legislation

    26.5 Conclusions

    Part VI: Corporate WEEE management strategies

    Chapter 27: Hewlett-Packard’s WEEE management strategy


    27.1 Environmental business management at Hewlett-Packard (HP)

    27.2 HP e-waste management in practice: HP end-of-life product return and recycling

    27.3 Future trends

    27.4 Sources of further information and advice

    27.5 Conclusions

    Chapter 28: Siemens’ WEEE management strategy


    28.1 Introduction: WEEE as an important element of the overall environmental protection strategy

    28.2 Siemens’ environmental business management

    28.3 Significance of WEEE aspects within the product life-cycle management (PLM) process

    28.4 Healthcare products as an example of WEEE management

    28.5 Future trends

    28.6 Sources of further information and advice

    Chapter 29: The history of take-back and treatment of WEEE at the Philips Consumer Lifestyle division


    29.1 Introduction

    29.2 The period 1990–1998

    29.3 Implementation of a take-back and treatment system in The Netherlands (1997–2000)

    29.4 The WEEE Directive (2000–2008)

    29.5 Summary and conclusions

    Chapter 30: Creating a corporate environmental strategy including WEEE take-back and treatment


    30.1 Position of take-back and treatment in an environmental strategy

    30.2 Corporate environmental strategy

    30.3 Product characteristics, take-back and treatment

    30.4 WEEE implementation, materials recycling and corporate environmental strategy

    30.5 Summary and conclusions


Product details

  • No. of pages: 752
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Woodhead Publishing 2012
  • Published: August 30, 2012
  • Imprint: Woodhead Publishing
  • eBook ISBN: 9780857096333

About the Editors

Vannessa Goodship

Principal Research Fellow at the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), a department at the University of Warwick providing research, education and knowledge transfer in engineering, manufacturing and technology. Her areas of specialism are plastics materials, their processing and recycling, and she has undertaken many research projects in these areas - most recently looking at multifunctional materials. She - like WMG - works at the interface of academia and industry. She has edited two books under the Woodhead imprint: Management, Recycling and Reuse of Waste Composites (2009) Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Handbook (2012).

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Warwick, UK

Ab Stevels

Ab Stevels has done trailblazing work in making Applied EcoDesign into day-to-day business really happen and has researched in detail the setting up of take-back and recycling systems for electronics For these purposes tools and management procedures have been developed which have proven their strength through their practical success.

Ab is the author of some 200 journal articles and conference contributions. Training courses on applied EcoDesign have been held at various universities (Delft, Stanford, TU Berlin,TU Vienna, TU Ostrava, the University of Arts and Design in Farnham (UK) , Mexico City, Hong Kong Poly, NTNU( Trondheim, Norway), Tsinghua University (Beijing) , and at various Philips departments and divisions around the globe and at other companies.

In 2013 he developed a 'MBA and Sustainability' course in cooperation with the University of Sao Paulo.

For his work in Applied EcoDesign he got an honorary degree from the University of Arts and Design. For his contributions in the field of recycling of electronics he got the "Cowbell Award"from the International Electronics Recycling Conference Organization. In 2014 the World Green Design Organization awarded him a "Green Design Contribution Award'.

Affiliations and Expertise

Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Jaco Huisman

Dr. Huisman holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology and a Ph.D. from Delft University of Technology. He was a Scientific Advisor to the UNU – SCYCLE and steering the group’s research activities related to electronics recycling. He is involved in various international projects providing facts and figures for improving e-waste management. In the past, Dr. Huisman has been the lead author of the UNU study supporting the European Commission’s 2008 Review of the EU WEEE Directive as well as multiple advanced e-waste country studies for various European countries. From 2013 to 2015 he was the scientific coordinator of the EU CWIT-project: “Countering WEEE Illegal Trade” and the H2020 project ProSUM: Prospecting Secondary raw materials in the Urban Mine. Currently with the European Commission DG Joint Research Center in the Sustainable Resources Directorate.

Affiliations and Expertise

European Commission – Joint Research Center (JRC)

Ratings and Reviews

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  • Barrie D. Tue Oct 06 2020

    Book Review: Waste Electrical and Electronic Material (WEEE) Handbook, Materials World, April, 2020, p.53

    A large number of leading experts have contributed to the 25 chapters of this Handbook, all focus on the wide and complex requirements related to the European Directives concerning waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE). These directives are now being transposed into national laws, both within and outside of the EU. Organisations find themselves struggling with the “rules of the game” which cover environmental, technical, economic and sociological aspects of electronic waste. When Neil Armstrong viewed our planet from the Moon, there were 3.6 billion of us, but only a few able to watch the event on TV. Today we are 7.7 billion – most owning an array of electronic equipment never dreamt of 50 years ago, each item being replaced when newer models with more desirable features enter the market. The book provides insight as to how this e-waste can be effectively managed, by collection, treatment and recycling. Technological solutions are offered for the recycling of printed circuit boards, liquid crystal displays, batteries and the like. Ideas for the recovery of common metals and rare earth metals from e-waste are offered. Interestingly, specific chapters are devoted to the systems utilised by both main developed countries and individual companies for the management of WEEE. Objectives appear to be shifting from pure waste management to the sustainability of electronic materials by various metallurgical extraction processes; here secondary raw materials are strategically important for the future. The reuse and refurbishment of electronics are covered, and the important topic referred to as ‘urban mining’ is described from a Japanese viewpoint. Many “best practices” are documented – these will be of great value to the reader. Possibly another chapter could have been added to this work in order to delineate the interfaces and perplexing overlap between EU Commission laws related to WEEE, RoHS, the REACH candidate list, and Conflict Materials data exchange. Much has changed since the previous edition, but there has been some sloppy editing; captions to some images are annoyingly wrong, such as a pie-chart being referred to as a plastic granulator; tin whisker growth to RoHS materials placed on the EU market. The index leaves much to be desired as important keywords such as ‘solder’, are missing. Overall, this book is well-written and contains a wealth of information of benefit to the reader who may be grappling with WEEE legislation. A very important and successful initial chapter is the Readers’ Guide to the Handbook. This will ensure that academics, industrialists and policy makers will be able to effectively map, locate then analyse specific topics of interest.