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Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU

WHY DO (W)EEE HOARD? THE EFFECT OF CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR ON THE RELEASE OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCTS INTO THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

  • Ariadne Wilkinson - EMEA Energy & Sustainability , CBRE Ltd , United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Ian D. Williams - Faculty of Engineering and the Environment , University of Southampton , United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

DOI 10.31025/2611-4135/2020.14004

Released under CC BY-NC-ND

Copyright: © 2020 CISA Publisher

Editorial History

  • Received: 11 Jan 2020
  • Revised: 30 Apr 2020
  • Accepted: 05 May 2020
  • Available online: 07 Sep 2020

Abstract

Home entertainment (HE) products are particularly rich in metals and plastics and thus have enormous potential as a source of materials from within Distinct Urban Mines (DUMs). Consumers’ end-of-life (EoL) management decisions (i.e. stockpiling, hoarding, reusing, discarding of WEEE) strongly influence the exploitation potential of a DUM. This study aimed to assess the effect of consumer behaviour on the release of HE (W)EEE into the circular economy. A survey was undertaken in Southampton (Hampshire, UK) to assess perceptions and behaviours relating to the EoL management of HE (W)EEE. The study provides previously unavailable data and critical evaluation on the ownership, use and hoarding levels of HE EEE in a typical city DUM, and the reasons behind their hoarding. Results indicated that ownership levels were very high, with an average of 12 home entertainment items owned per household. This makes urban areas extremely plausible as DUMs; we estimate that there are over 1 million HE devices owned and ~440,000 HE devices hoarded in Southampton and >150 million HE EEE owned and ~61 million HE devices hoarded in UK households. Hoarding is common, especially for smaller or older equipment, due to their perceived residual value. HE product lifecycles averaged 4-5 years. The most common EoL routes were donating to relatives, friends or charities; hoarding; recycling; or discarding items in general refuse. To encourage the recovery of EoL HE equipment: i) convenient and accessible WEEE collection points should be established for regular (periodic) harvesting and ii) promoted via awareness campaigns and incentives.

Keywords


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