Discussion Paper

Modeling the Costs and Environmental Benefits of Disposal Options forEnd-of-Life Electronic Equipment: The Case of Used Computer Monitors

Jun 1, 2001 | Molly K. Macauley, Karen L. Palmer, Jhih-Shyang Shih, Sarah Cline, Heather Holsinger

Abstract

<p>Managing the growing quantity of used electronic equipment poses challenges for waste management officials. In this paper, we focus on a large component of the electronic waste stream—computer monitors—and the disposal concerns associated with the lead embodied in cathode ray tubes (CRTs) used in most monitors. We develop a policy simulation model of consumers’ disposal options based on the costs of these options and their associated environmental impacts.</p><p>For the stock of monitors disposed of in the United States in 1998, our preliminary findings suggest that bans on some disposal options would increase disposal costs from about $1 per monitor to between $3 and $20 per monitor. Policies to promote a modest amount of recycling of monitor parts, including lead, can be less expensive. In both cases, the costs of the policies exceed the value of the avoided health effects of CRT disposal.</p>