Towards an Assessment Methodology to Support Decision Making for Sustainable Electronic Waste Management Systems: Automatic Sorting Technology
Journal article, 2015
There is a lack of structured methodologies to support stakeholders in accessing the sustainability aspects for e-waste management. Moreover, the increasing volume of electronic waste (e-waste) and the availability of automated e-waste treatment solutions demand frequent
reconfigurations of facilities for efficient e-waste management. To fill this gap and guide such ongoing developments, this paper proposes a novel methodological framework to enable the assessing, visualizing and comparing of sustainability impacts (economic, environmental and social) resulting from changes applied to a facility for e-waste treatment. The methodology encompasses several methods, such as discrete event simulation, life cycle assessment and stakeholder mapping. A newly-developed demonstrator for sorting e-waste is presented to illustrate the application of the framework. Not only did the methodology generate useful information for decision making, but it has also helped identify requirements for further assessing the broader impacts on the social landscape in which e-waste management systems operate. These results differ from those of previous studies, which have lacked a holistic approach to addressing sustainability. Such an approach is important to truly measure the efficacy of sustainable e-waste management. Potential future applications of the framework are envisioned in production systems handling other waste streams, besides electronics.
key performance indicators
life cycle assessment