Abstract—Waste of electrical and electronic equipment(WEEE or e-waste) collection and recycling operation in China has been dominated by informal recyclers, whose recycling activities have caused serious negative impacts. This study is based on small-scaled interviews and observational studies that examine the characteristics of two groups of informal collectors and the relationships between relevant stakeholders. The stakeholders involved in this study include informal door-to-door collectors, ICT street traders, repair shops, collection and distribution centers. Several conclusions have been derived from the study: 1) the informal recycling sector has several prominent features including self-organized and market-driven operations, cheap labor and low-cost transportation; 2) End of life (EOL) large household appliances and Information and Communications Technology Products(ICT) are processed by two separate but parallel systems based on two different groups of collectors: door-to-door collectors and ICT street traders; 3) PCs and large household appliances are the most wanted appliances for informal door-to-door collectors in any condition whereas ICT products can be resold only in good-condition; 4) city-based informal collection sector has many advantages over the regulated recycling system and should be retained.
Index Terms—e-waste, WEEE, informal recycling, informal collectors, unregulated recycling.
Xian Li is with University of New South Wales, Faculty of the Built Environment, Sydney, Australia (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Miles Park is with the Faulty of Built Environment at University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (e-mail: email@example.com).
Oya Demirbilek is with the Industrial Design Program at University of New South Wales, Faculty of the Built Environment, Sydney, Australia (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cite: Xian Li, Miles Park, and Oya Demirbilek, "Informal WEEE Recycling in China: A Field Study of Stakeholders in Tianjin," International Journal of Environmental Science and Development vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 422-426, 2012.