A multidimensional indicator set to assess the benefits of WEEE material recycling
Faculty of Sciences. Bioscience Engineering
Science citation index
Journal of cleaner production / Masson. - Science citation index
, p. 305-316
University of Antwerp
EU strategies for waste management have long recognized the key role of recycling to move towards sustainable consumption and production. This resulted in a range of regulatory measures, among which the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, which sets weight-based targets for recovery, preparation for re-use and recycling. The increasing strategic relevance of the supply of raw materials has, however, spurred a more integrated approach towards resource efficiency. In addition to the prevention of disposal, recycling practices are now also meant to contribute to sustainable materials management by pursuing (i) a higher degree of material cycle closure, (ii) an improved recovery of strategically relevant materials, and (iii) the avoidance of environmental burdens associated with the extraction and refining of primary raw materials. In response to this evolution, this paper reports about the development of an indicator set that allows to quantitatively demonstrate these recycling benefits, hence going further than the weight-based objectives employed in the WEEE directive. The indicators can be calculated for WEEE recycling processes for which information is available on both input and output fractions. It offers a comprehensive framework that aims to support decision making processes on product design, to identify opportunities for the optimization of WEEE End-of-Life scenarios, and to assess the achieved (or expected) results of implemented (or planned) recycling optimization strategies. The paper is illustrated by a case study on the recycling of LCD televisions. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.