Washington University Students for International Collaboration on the Environment

WEEE – the New Environment Threat

The electric and electronic equipment has been developed, applied, and consumed worldwide at a very high speed. Subsequently, the significant increasing amount of waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) has become a common problem facing the world. In view of the deleterious effects of WEEE on the environment and the valuable materials that can be reused in them, legislations in many countries have focused their attention on the management of WEEE, and new techniques have been developed for the recovery of WEEE. In China, rapid economic growth, coupled with urbanization and growing demand for consumer goods, has increased the consumption of EEE in large quantity, thus made the WEEE manifold rapidly, posing a severe threat to the environment and the sustainable economic growth as well.


WEEE can contain over one thousand different substances, many of which are toxic and some which have a relatively high market value when extracted. Inadequate disposal and poor recycling practices to recover metals such as gold, copper and silver contribute to potential harmful impacts on the environment and pose health risks to exposed individuals. The WEEE stream is thus important not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of its toxicity.


China and India are countries most impacted by inappropriate recycling practices and countries that also have a great need for material resources and very low labor costs. Environmental levels of the selected pollutants in the areas of study are compared with some reference toxicological values and the possible impacts for ecosystems and humans in the areas of study are discussed.


Poor WEEE recycling techniques, particularly in developing countries, are generating more and more environmental pollution that affects both ecosystems and the people living within or near the main recycling areas.

The tags collected from GuiYu Guangdong, PRC (largest WEEE dump waste yard in China). Most of them are imported from west coast of American.

On the banner: peddling import WEEE is an illegal act

In the picture: people are busy transporting WEEE


Gilbert Shi



2 responses

  1. Ellie Cooper


    I had no idea this was such a problem in China (my sense is that it is less of a problem in the US, is that true?)

    When you say “Most of them are imported from the west coast of America” do you mean that the US is shipping its WEEE abroad to be dumped, that Chinese are trying to resell WEEE from the US to other Chinese, or that Chinese electronic equipment is made on the west coast? Or something else?

    Ellie Cooper

    October 23, 2010 at 9:31 am

  2. Huifeng Yu

    Hi Gilbert,

    Nice job! I am glad the Fudan account works well. However, Can you put a tag like “Fudan” or “WUSICE Fudan delegates” to categorize the posts.
    What do you think, Ellie?

    Huifeng Yu

    October 24, 2010 at 1:11 am

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