Extended Producer Responsibility in East Asia: Approaches and lessons learnt from the management of waste electrical and electronic equipment

Panate Manomaivibool

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Environmental protection has become high in the policy agenda of East Asian countries by the
end of the last century due to both internal and external stimuli. One of the main environmental issues is the management of solid waste. The concept of circular economy which encourages reduce, reuse, and recycling, i.e. 3Rs, together with the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has been promoted principally in the region by the Japanese government and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), respectively. This paper reviews approaches to pursue EPR and analyses factors behind policy development and environmental effectiveness of the respective programmes in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan from the 1990s onward. The management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE, or e(lectronic)-waste) is selected as an object of the study. A two-step theory-based evaluation (TBE) is employed to evaluate the effectiveness of WEEE programmes. This paper concludes that internal factors such as limits in waste disposal capacity are more powerful in explaining the speed of policy development and the
exact design of WEEE programmes though the role of epistemic communities helps in understanding the policy discourse. The adoption of the restriction of the use of hazardous substances (RoHS) in East Asia, on the other hand, was driven mainly by international trade harmonisation. TBE shows that the impacts of existing WEEE programmes on design improvements varied and the main explanation was the degree of producers’ involvement in the end-of-life management, which was highest in Japan and lowest in Taiwan. It also shows that programmes in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, succeeded to an extent in promoting WEEE recycling although the actual achievements in the area of waste collection were not completely in line with the EPR intervention and implementation theories. In addition, this paper questions the role of exports of used products to less developed countries because this form of “reuse” can compromise environmental protection goals where the imported countries do not have a proper system to ensure environmentally sound management of WEEE when these products reach their ultimate end-of-life stage.
Titel på värdpublikation[Host publication title missing]
FörlagAsian Research Institute, Osaka University of Economics and Law
Antal sidor20
StatusPublished - 2008
Evenemang5th International Conference on East Asian Studies - International House, Osaka, Japan
Varaktighet: 2008 sep. 21 → …


Konferens5th International Conference on East Asian Studies
OrtInternational House, Osaka
Period2008/09/21 → …

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Tvärvetenskapliga studier


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