Application of material flow analysis to estimate the efficiency of e-waste management systems: the case of Lithuania

Waste Manag Res. 2011 Jul;29(7):763-77. doi: 10.1177/0734242X11406171. Epub 2011 Jun 7.


Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) has penetrated everyday life. The EEE industry is characterized by a rapid technological change which in turn prompts consumers to replace EEE in order to keep in step with innovations. These factors reduce an EEE life span and determine the exponential growth of the amount of obsolete EEE as well as EEE waste (e-waste). E-waste management systems implemented in countries of the European Union (EU) are not able to cope with the e-waste problem properly, especially in the new EU member countries. The analysis of particular e-waste management systems is essential in evaluation of the complexity of these systems, describing and quantifying the flows of goods throughout the system, and all the actors involved in it. The aim of this paper is to present the research on the regional agent based material flow analysis in e-waste management systems, as a measure to reveal the potential points for improvement. Material flow analysis has been performed as a flow of goods (EEE). The study has shown that agent-based EEE flow analysis incorporating a holistic and life cycle thinking approach in national e-waste management systems gives a broader view to the system than a common administrative one used to cover. It helps to evaluate the real efficiency of e-waste management systems and to identify relevant impact factors determining the current operation of the system.

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Electronic Waste*
  • European Union
  • Humans
  • Lithuania
  • Refuse Disposal / methods*
  • Waste Management / methods*