Barriers to electronics reuse of transboundary e-waste shipment regulations: An evaluation based on industry experiences.
In our globalized economy, increasing volumes of used electronics are shipped across national borders. While global and regional regulations prioritize electronics reuse as a prudent approach for conserving resources and reducing environmental toxicity, their effect on cross-border shipping activities of the reuse industry is not well-known. This study analyzes data from nine cases collected in 2012–13 via interviews and a survey of reuse organizations to identify the effects of these regulations on transboundary reuse activities, which respondents perceive as barriers to electronics reuse. Overall, three broad areas were identified in which regulations may directly influence the reuse organizations that participated in this study: (i) definitions, classification, operating procedures, and enforcement; (ii) evaluation of shipments; and (iii) requirement for functionality testing. These findings suggest that, contrary to the goal of encouraging reuse of discarded electrical and electronic equipment, in some cases regulations may be contributing to raising barriers for reuse organizations’ business. To help eliminate these barriers, policy recommendations proposed in this paper include: appropriate legislative amendments; inclusion of issues related to reuse in the development of relevant national policies; establishment of a comprehensive international legislative database; creation of refurbishment operations close to the install base and integration of informal recyclers in the reuse sector; and an introduction of a regulated green e-waste transboundary channel.