Understanding People's Recycling Behavior on Unwanted USB Cables and their Contribution to e‐Waste in Hong Kong through a Territory‐Wide Recycling Programme

Stacey Ching Yi LI, Tommy Tin Yan HUI, Janet Kit Yan CHAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Unwanted USB cables are an emergent type of electronic waste (or e-waste) that is overlooked in Hong Kong. To address this issue, an action research project, “Off-lines”, is launched to investigate people's knowledge and awareness of USB cable e-waste and take initiatives to raise public awareness of its proper disposal. From February to May 2022, the study conducted a questionnaire survey and received 457 valid responses. The results revealed that each respondent has an average of nine unused USB cables and, based on this finding, it is estimated that there are 57.7 million excessive USB cables in Hong Kong. Such excessive ownership can be driven by the fact that ≈70% of respondents are unaware of the recyclability of USB cables, and the knowledge of USB cable recyclability varies depending on age, income level, and awareness of recycling locations. To resolve the problem, 150 collection points are established throughout Hong Kong and successfully collected over 7 700 unwanted USB cables from the public. Additionally, workshops are conducted that raised public awareness by upcycling this emergent e-waste. This project highlights the urgent need to expand waste collection, promotion, and educational networks, with a particular focus on the elderly population.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalAdvanced Sustainable Systems
Early online date1 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank Faculty of Science of the University of Hong Kong to support and promote this project. The authors also would like to convey the sincerest thanks to the survey and workshop participants for their feedback and views. The authors would like to express gratitude to a Hong Kong knot designer, Miss Zoe Siu, for her professional design to upcycle unwanted USB cables and her invaluable time for the upcycling workshops and the demonstration of knots in the online, tutorial videos. Without Zoe's help, the authors would not be able to run the upcycling workshop smoothly.

Publisher Copyright: © 2023 The Authors. Advanced Sustainable Systems published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Advanced Sustainable Systems published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.

Keywords

  • action research
  • e-waste
  • off-lines
  • public participation
  • USB cable

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