Consider the number of technologies the average household has purchased in the last decade. Mobile phones, TVs, computers, tablets and game consoles don’t last forever, they are difficult to repair and often cost as much as simply buying a replacement.
Electronics are indispensable to modern society, Electronic waste (E-waste) is Circular economy— A more sustainable economic system focused on recycling Minimize material and waste. In addition to the global waste agenda, it claims to recycle electronics, but actually disposes of them by other means, such as landfills or transporting waste to other countries. There is an epidemic of fraudulent recycling practices by companies that do.
A new study from the Virtual Materials Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson Institute of Technology is a frame for understanding the choices recyclers must make and the potential role of digital fraud prevention in preventing fraudulent recycling practices. I am developing a work.
“Electronic devices have a huge impact on the environment as a whole. life cycleFrom the mining of rare raw materials to energy-intensive manufacturing to the flow of complex e-waste, “said Christopher Wilmer, chemistry and associate professor at William Kepler Whiteford Faculty Fellow. Petroleum engineering, Leads the Hypothetic Materials Lab. “The circular economy model is suitable for mitigating each of these effects, but it is currently estimated that less than 40% of e-waste is reused or recycled. Our technology is sustainable. To be there, it’s important to understand the barriers. For recycling e-waste. “
Some US companies that promote safe, ethical, and environmentally friendly recycling practices do not actually recycle much of what they receive. Instead, their e-waste was illegally stockpiled, abandoned, or exported. Between 2014 and 2016, the Basel Action Network used GPS trackers in electronic devices delivered to US recyclers, showing that 30% of their products were taken abroad.
Researchers have developed a model framework for managing fraudulent used electronics and analyzing why recyclers pursue fraud. They are, e-waste Recyclers engage in honest practices with minimal supervision and make them more profitable options by reducing recycling costs or increasing penalties for fraud.
“The main barrier to honest recycling is its cost,” said Daniel Salmon, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “One of our main discoveries is that if companies find more profitable ways to recycle, they will reduce fraudulent recycling. Targeted subsidies, increased penalties for fraud. , Manufacturers that facilitate the recycling of electronic devices, etc. may solve this problem. “
Researchers have also proposed using blockchain as a neutral third-party overseer to avoid fraudulent recycling practices.
“Our model mentions the impact of monitoring and supervision, but self-reporting by companies allows fraud, while something like blockchain is not,” he said. Cryptocurrency says Wilmer, who founded the first peer-reviewed academic journal, Ledger. “Relying on immutable records may be one solution to prevent fraud and coordinate the behavior of the entire recycler towards a circular economy.”
This work is part of an NSF-funded large-scale convergence research project on the circular economy, with Melissa Billek, Deputy Director of the Mascaro Center and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Roberta of Pitt. A. Laxbacher Faculty Fellow is leading.
Daniel Salmon et al, Framework for Modeling Fraud in E-waste Management, Resources, conservation and recycling (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.resconrec.2021.105613
University of Pittsburgh
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Modeling the circular economy of electronic waste
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