Circular economy in the electronic products sector: Material flow analysis and economic impact of cellphone e-waste in Mexico
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© 2019 by the authors. The circular economy (CE) model has become highly relevant in recent years, with the electronics industry being one of the sectors that has considered its application. Despite only a limited amount of literature being available on waste electric and electronic equipment (e-waste) in Mexico, the Mexican Government, academic institutions, and electronics industry have coordinated efforts to implement the CE in the country. This study evaluates the current technical and economic situation of cellphone e-waste generated in Mexico by surveying and analyzing the main actors that influence the management of this waste and using a material flow analysis. Extensive fieldwork was conducted in order to quantify the extent of cellphone e-waste processing in both formal and informal channels. The study of printed circuit boards in cellphones shows that the total value of cellphone e-waste materials ranges between $11.277 and $12.444 million USD per year in Mexico. However, a value of only $0.677 million USD is recycled through formal channels. After characterizing the remanufacturing and recycling CE loops, we conclude that the potential for improvement and advancing towards a CE model is significant.