Modelling in-use stocks and spatial distributions of household electronic devices and their contained metals based on household survey data

Xuan Zhu, Ruth Lane, T.T. Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) contains a significant amount of critical and precious metals. Recovery of these metal resources is important for both environmental and economic reasons. However, the potential for metal recovery from the distributed resource of used electronic devices in households has not been well understood. This paper explores such potential through modelling in-use stocks and spatial distributions of metal resources in household electronic devices based on household survey data, using Australia as a case study. We focused on ten categories of electronic devices: smart mobile phones, plain mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, flat screen TVs, CRT TVs, monitors, hand held music players and game devices. Regression models were built using demographic variables aspredictors to estimate the amount of electronic devices currently in use in households, and the bottomupapproach was employed to estimate the stocks of forty three metals contained in the devices. A set ofmaps were produced to show the estimated distribution of the resource of in-use household electronicdevices and specific metals of interest contained in these devices. We find that some metals such asPlatinum-group elements have more stocks in Australian household devices than the potential stocksin Australian mineral deposits. There is some intrinsic resource value contained in Australian householdelectronic goods, and interest in recovery of these particular metals might come sooner than for others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-37
Number of pages11
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Bottom-up approach
  • Critical metals
  • Household electronic devices
  • In-use stock
  • Material stock analysis
  • Spatial analysis

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