Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
O'Connell, MW,Hickey, SW,Fitzpatrick, C
Sustainability Science
Evaluating the sustainability potential of a white goods refurbishment program
Optional Fields
White goods Reuse Sustainability Life cycle assessment Renewable energy CONSUMER HABITS ENERGY EFFICIENCY WASTE PAPER COST
A sustainable national policy on waste electronic and electrical equipment reuse has to ensure an integrated environmental economic and social approach. In this paper, a quantitative model is developed that permits a comparative analysis of re-use and non-re-use scenarios from an environmental and economic perspective. The model demonstrates the importance of considering user consumption profiles and the changing national electricity generation portfolio in determining the best end-of-life strategy, whether it should be reuse or recycling. A case study of Ireland is used to demonstrate the model. From a social perspective, qualitative aspects of reuse, such as the job creation potential and the impact on prosperity for low income families, are also considered. Reuse of white goods, if conducted through social enterprises, will create more employment than an equivalent amount of recycling for those most vulnerable to unemployment. Any environmental and social dividends from re-use can be realized only in the context of an economically sustainable system. This would include such factors as a secure supply of suitable equipment, a competitive cost base and sufficient revenues from sales and other sources in order for the business to survive. In an attempt to examine whether a white goods re-use program could possibly operate in a competitive manner with new appliances, this study has examined examples of comparable businesses operating in the EU as well as interpreting data on consumer demand.
Grant Details