Zero E-waste: Regulatory impediments and blockchain imperatives
Abstract • Copyrights on electronic products are impediments in promoting circular economy. • Manufacturers antagonize refurbishment and remanufacturing to maximize profit. • International harmonization of copyright laws will aid repair and remanufacture. • Blockchain–digital immutable ledgers–can promote trust among stakeholders. The concept of zero waste is an ideal situation that will require different solutions for different categories of waste. Electronic waste (E-waste), the fastest growing category of solid hazardous waste presents various unique challenges. Electronic product repair, reuse and remanufacture (3re) are crucial for effective source reduction of E-waste and the integration of the electronics industry into a circular or zero-waste economy framework. Increasingly, 3re implementation is restricted by regulatory difficulties, particularly the invocation of copyright laws. Here, we use the examples of electronic printer cartridges and restored compact discs (CDs) to identify the challenges and to explore solutions for managing the risks associated with E-waste through circular economy and the opportunities presented by innovative Blockchain solutions. A set of international consensuses on judicial definitions, such as 3re, refurbish fake/counterfeit product and copyright exhaustion, are proposed to accelerate source reduction in E-waste management toward the goal of zero waste.