Alexander Batteiger · Vera Susanne Rotter
Recycling 2018;3:7

Environmental sciences

“Universal access to electricity” is proclaimed as the seventh sustainable development goal (SDG 7) of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals list. The achievement of this goal will result in a rapid diffusion of energy technologies that would in turn increase materials stocks, subsequently increase the raw material demand as well as the arising waste flows. This study describes a methodological framework to assess in-use stocks of off-grid solar products and electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) for rural communities in developing countries. The methodology is based on energy-access data. Furthermore, the specifics of the characteristics of off-grid solar products are discussed. The methodology is applied to rural Bangladesh and its solar home system (SHS) program. By the end of 2016, around 4.1 million SHSs were installed. This type of access to electricity has a significant impact on the in-use stocks, as households add the comparatively heavy SHSs to their in-use stocks. In-use stocks of EEE, in general, are low. Off-grid solar products are lighter than standard EEE, and fewer products types are available. These findings will help to better understand material stocks and future waste flows in the given context and will support the adaption of recycling infrastructures.

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