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Life-cycle energy use and GHG emissions of waste television treatment system in China

Song, Xiaolong, Zhang, Chenglong, Yuan, Wenyi, Yang, Dong
Resources, Conservation & Recycling 2018 v.128 pp. 470-478
cathodes, electronic wastes, energy, environmental performance, glass, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, infrastructure, lead, life cycle assessment, sustainable development, television, China
Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has become one of the fastest growing solid waste. The development of WEEE treatment facility will promote the infrastructure to realize sustainable waste management. At present, the treatment of cathode ray tube televisions (TVs) forms the dominant part of the WEEE treatment system in China. In this paper, a life cycle assessment is conducted to estimate the energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from CRT TV treatment. Three treatment scenarios for CRT TV are analysed: (i) the current situation in China (Current China Scenario), (ii) one with encouragement from China’s WEEE Directive (WEEE Directive Scenario), and (iii) the development of more advanced techniques (Advanced Technique Scenario). The results show that the changes in energy use caused by the three scenarios are −526.51, −475, and −556.07MJ, respectively. Meanwhile, the relevant GHG emissions are −19.59, −20.43, and −25.82kg CO2-eq, respectively. The scenario involving encouragement from China’s WEEE Directive offers no benefit compared to the current situation in terms of energy use and GHG emissions. Moreover, the Advanced Technique Scenario is more efficient than the Current China Scenario. In consideration of the main contribution, the results reveal that CRT glass recycling contributes the highest energy use and GHG emissions to CRT TV treatment, besides, displaced plastic and displaced glass account for the main proportions with regard to any accrued environmental gain. A sensitivity analysis is also carried out to quantify the influence of collection efficiency and the lead (Pb) recovery rate on environmental performance. In so doing, some recommendations are proposed to realize the sustainable development of the WEEE treatment system in China.