A material flow analysis on current electrical and electronic waste disposal from Hong Kong households

Winifred Ka Yan Lau, Shan Shan CHUNG*, Chan Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


A material flow study on five types of household electrical and electronic equipment, namely television, washing machine, air conditioner, refrigerator and personal computer (TWARC) was conducted to assist the Government of Hong Kong to establish an e-waste take-back system. This study is the first systematic attempt on identifying key TWARC waste disposal outlets and trade practices of key parties involved in Hong Kong. Results from two questionnaire surveys, on local households and private e-waste traders, were used to establish the material flow of household TWARC waste. The study revealed that the majority of obsolete TWARC were sold by households to private e-waste collectors and that the current e-waste collection network is efficient and popular with local households. However, about 65,000. tonnes/yr or 80% of household generated TWARC waste are being exported overseas by private e-waste traders, with some believed to be imported into developing countries where crude recycling methods are practiced. Should Hong Kong establish a formal recycling network with tight regulatory control on imports and exports, the potential risks of current e-waste recycling practices on e-waste recycling workers, local residents and the environment can be greatly reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-721
Number of pages8
JournalWaste Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal

User-Defined Keywords

  • Electronic waste
  • Hong Kong
  • Material flow analysis
  • Waste management


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