PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (7): 954-962.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.07.009

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Interregional flows of e-waste in China

Xin TONG1(), Tao WANG1, Yanguang CHEN1, Xin SONG2, Zhaoxuan LUO1, Huiting HUANG1   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. Center of Solid Waste and Chemical Management Technology, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100029, China
  • Received:2017-09-27 Revised:2018-03-08 Online:2018-07-28 Published:2018-07-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41731278


Cross-boundary flows of e-waste have been addressed in economic geography literature, reflecting the deep conflicts of values between environmental protection and resources recovery at the global scale. Based on the principle of extended producer responsibility, a division of activity between the informal sector and formal recycling plants has formed in China with the state subsidy to the latter to buy waste products collected by the former. Using the Wilson spatial interaction model, this study depicted the interprovincial flows of e-waste in China in 2014, and compared the estimation with the results from a survey on formal recycling plants. Both results show that around 1/3 of the e-waste flowing to the formal recycling plants came from interprovincial transportation, despite the government intention to plan a regional self-sufficient system for e-waste recycling at the provincial level. We discussed the reasons for the mismatch between the planned and the real spatial patterns of e-waste flows. In conclusion, we identified several implications from the experience of China for the global e-waste management.

Key words: e-waste recycling, spatial interaction model, extended producer responsibility, reverse logistics, informal sector