Enhancing Informal Electronic Waste Recycling Tools and Methods

Conjoint Analysis Thailand

Principal investigator: Richard (Rick) Neitzel

Co-Invesigator: Jesse Austin-Breneman, Achyuta Adhvaryu, and Kowit Nambunmee

Source of funding: UM Institutional Funing – MCubed 3.0

Description: Discarded products that contain electronic or electrical parts are considered electronic waste (e-waste).  High-income countries often export electronic waste to be recycled in less expensive settings resulting in economic opportunities for workers in low-income communities. However, current informal recycling methods, which use crude tools and methods, create many health and safety hazards for both the worker and their community, effectively resulting in a global transfer of human health risks.

This applied research project will develop and pilot test an intervention to improve recycling methods among informal e-waste recycling workers in Thailand. Through an interdisciplinary system analysis, the intervention will be designed to optimize specific e-waste recycling tools and methods in order to reduce waste, improve profitability, and enhance worker safety and health.  The intervention design will take into account the unique operating context of informal e-waste recycling workers in Thailand, but will ideally be generalizable to other e-waste recycling settings in low- and middle-income countries.

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