The current Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) management system of the European Union to be applied in all member states was introduced in 2002 by the first WEEE directive (2002/96/EC). Since the beginning, the system was intended to improve the management of WEEE and promote circular economy principles in the sector. This study aims at evaluating the environmental and social impacts of the WEEE management system in Italy, with a special focus on collection and recycling in Campania Region (the third more populated Italian Region, Southern Italy). The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is jointly applied with the Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA). All five categories of WEEE (R1 to R5) are considered in the assessment. The LCA results show that the extraction of metals and materials from 1 tonne of WEEE collection and recycling generates much lower environmental impacts than the extraction and refining of an equivalent amount of virgin resources. In particular, the results of the environmental LCA highlight that the treatment of 1 tonne of WEEE collected in the Campania Region provides the opportunity to recover several metals such as Aluminum, Iron, Steel and ferrous materials, Copper, Nickel, Lead, and precious metals (Gold, Silver, and Palladium). According to S-LCA, the collection and recycling of 1 tonne of WEEE provides positive impacts to the investigated sub-categories of recipients (i.e., local community and society), except in some cases where the collection may potentially generate negative impacts, expressed by a lower “safe and healthy living conditions” indicator in the local community sub-category. In particular, much more must be done to support small Municipalities towards better collection procedures and integration within the largest Regional and national WEEE valorization networks. Solutions are suggested to improve the transition of the WEEE management system towards a more just environmental and social circular economy model.

Environmental and Social Life Cycle Assessment of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Management in Italy According to EU Directives

Patrizia Ghisellini
;
Renato Passaro;Sergio Ulgiati
2023-01-01

Abstract

The current Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) management system of the European Union to be applied in all member states was introduced in 2002 by the first WEEE directive (2002/96/EC). Since the beginning, the system was intended to improve the management of WEEE and promote circular economy principles in the sector. This study aims at evaluating the environmental and social impacts of the WEEE management system in Italy, with a special focus on collection and recycling in Campania Region (the third more populated Italian Region, Southern Italy). The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is jointly applied with the Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA). All five categories of WEEE (R1 to R5) are considered in the assessment. The LCA results show that the extraction of metals and materials from 1 tonne of WEEE collection and recycling generates much lower environmental impacts than the extraction and refining of an equivalent amount of virgin resources. In particular, the results of the environmental LCA highlight that the treatment of 1 tonne of WEEE collected in the Campania Region provides the opportunity to recover several metals such as Aluminum, Iron, Steel and ferrous materials, Copper, Nickel, Lead, and precious metals (Gold, Silver, and Palladium). According to S-LCA, the collection and recycling of 1 tonne of WEEE provides positive impacts to the investigated sub-categories of recipients (i.e., local community and society), except in some cases where the collection may potentially generate negative impacts, expressed by a lower “safe and healthy living conditions” indicator in the local community sub-category. In particular, much more must be done to support small Municipalities towards better collection procedures and integration within the largest Regional and national WEEE valorization networks. Solutions are suggested to improve the transition of the WEEE management system towards a more just environmental and social circular economy model.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11367/119977
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