E-waste the Impeding Epidemic: A Systematic Literature Review on the Challenges of E-waste Management

Taylor, Sheryl
Diaz Andrade, Antonio
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

This dissertation examines the global e-waste management challenges. This topic is particularly important due to expanding digital technology adoption and subsequent e-waste generation. Due to this, there is a need for effective and globally coordinated e-waste management. The study is conducted through a systematic literature review process. This comprehensive methodology allows for the synthesis of relevant research on the topic of e-waste management challenges.

Key findings suggest a dichotomy in the e-waste narrative. While e-waste is a potential source of valuable recyclable materials and income for those in emerging economies, it simultaneously poses a significant environmental and health threat. The study also uncovers other significant issues contributing to the management challenges. These include a lack of accurate data reporting, minimal enforcement of regulations, and generally limited awareness of all aspects of e-waste issues. Additionally, the health and environmental repercussions of improper e-waste handling, particularly affecting marginalised workers who participate in the informal recycling sector out of necessity, are highlighted.

Future research is recommended in the area of integrating Extended Producer Responsibility and Circular Economy into a global e-waste management approach. Furthermore, research into developing a standardised reporting system for e-waste, particularly in countries with a large informal recycling sector, is also recommended.

This study underscores the urgency of addressing the e-waste issue and calls for a multi-stakeholder approach that is economically viable, environmentally sustainable, and socially equitable.

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