Economic analysis of electronic waste recycling: modeling the cost and revenue of a materials recovery facility in California.

Abstract

The objectives of this study are to identify the various techniques used for treating electronic waste (e-waste) at material recovery facilities (MRFs) in the state of California and to investigate the costs and revenue drivers for these techniques. The economics of a representative e-waste MRF are evaluated by using technical cost modeling (TCM). MRFs are a critical element in the infrastructure being developed within the e-waste recycling industry. At an MRF, collected e-waste can become marketable output products including resalable systems/components and recyclable materials such as plastics, metals, and glass. TCM has two main constituents, inputs and outputs. Inputs are process-related and economic variables, which are directly specified in each model. Inputs can be divided into two parts: inputs for cost estimation and for revenue estimation. Outputs are the results of modeling and consist of costs and revenues, distributed by unit operation, cost element, and revenue source. The results of the present analysis indicate that the largest cost driver for the operation of the defined California e-waste MRF is the materials cost (37% of total cost), which includes the cost to outsource the recycling of the cathode ray tubes (CRTs) (dollar 0.33/kg); the second largest cost driver is labor cost (28% of total cost without accounting for overhead). The other cost drivers are transportation, building, and equipment costs. The most costly unit operation is cathode ray tube glass recycling, and the next are sorting, collecting, and dismantling. The largest revenue source is the fee charged to the customer; metal recovery is the second largest revenue source.

Cite this paper

@article{Kang2006EconomicAO, title={Economic analysis of electronic waste recycling: modeling the cost and revenue of a materials recovery facility in California.}, author={Hai-Yong Kang and Julie M. Schoenung}, journal={Environmental science & technology}, year={2006}, volume={40 5}, pages={1672-80} }