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J Hazard Mater. 2006 Sep 21;137(2):1165-74. Epub 2006 Apr 19.

Estimation of future outflows and infrastructure needed to recycle personal computer systems in California.

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Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, 3118 Bainer Hall, One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


The objectives of the present study are to estimate future quantities of electronic waste (e-waste) for which appropriate infrastructure needs to be established, and to the estimate the total cost for e-waste recycling in California. Estimation of the future amounts of e-waste as a function of time is critical to effective e-waste management. To generate estimates, we use a time-series materials flow analysis model (MFAM). The model estimates future e-waste quantities by modeling the stages of production, usage, and disposal. We consider four scenarios for the estimation of future e-waste generation in order to consider the effects of exportation outside the State of California and of user preferences to store or to recycle the e-waste. These efforts were further investigated through the use of sensitivity analysis. The results of the present research indicate that the outflow (recycling) amount of central processing units (CPUs) will increase and will reach approximately 8.5 million units per year in 2013, but the outflow (recycling) of cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors will decrease from 2004 in California because of the replacement of CRT monitors by liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors. In 2013, the cost for CPU recycling will be 1.7 times higher than that in 2005. But for CRT monitors, the cost for recycling in 2013 will be negligible. After the State of California enacted the ban on landfill disposal of e-waste, recycling became the most common end-of-life (EOL) option in California. Also, after 2005, the State of California will need more than 60 average-capacity materials recovery facilities (MRFs), to recycle the number of personal computer systems generated, which represents an investment in capital of over 16 million dollars.

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