• Azadeh Dindarian

Student thesis: Phd


Despite the extensive research carried out on waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) over the past decades, little is known about the quality of electronic products discarded and the extent to which quality affects the decisions to dispose and reuse these products as well as the impact of the current design of products for reuse and remanufacture. This information is fundamental to understand the reasons for the recent unfettered growth in electronic waste, and to propose solutions to address this problem. In this thesis, using a multi-method approach, face to face semi-structured interviews and product fault find surveys, the author investigates and reports the reasons consumers dispose of microwave ovens and the quality of the products, in particular microwave ovens, that are discarded in the United Kingdom as well as recommended design changes to original equipment manufacturers in order to facilitate reuse and increase the lifespan of such products.By collecting and testing 189 microwave ovens disposed of cosmetic imperfections, as well as electrical and mechanical defects, the results revealed that: (i) a fifth of all microwaves disposed are in perfect working condition and can be reused without any reuse process, (ii) a high percentage of the microwaves discarded have only very minor defects, (iii) almost all microwaves discarded with minor defects can be safely refurbished for re-use, (iv) very few components are responsible for most mechanical and electrical faults, (v) for most microwaves disposed of, the prices of the parts necessary for repair are a very small fraction of the average price of a new microwave.Using face to face interviews with 82 persons disposing electronic microwaves it was also found that: (i) consumers are largely unaware of alternative routes to send their end-of-life/use functional products other than the public recycling facilities, and (ii) a large proportion of the consumers disposing of microwaves intend to buy a similar product, only partially supporting the widely-held belief that e-waste is driven by a desire for the latest technology.Based on these results, the author argues that, for microwave ovens disposed in the United Kingdom via household waste recycling centres, the quality of the products discarded is not a serious impediment for reuse, neither are the prices of spare parts. Furthermore, the major factor preventing reuse is the current design of this product, which makes remanufacturing difficult and onerous, as well as the receptiveness of the market for second hand items. Using this information, the author also proposes small changes in design that can significantly improve reusability and, as a consequence, increases the life span of these products.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAndrew Gibson (Supervisor) & Joao Quariguasi Frota Net (Supervisor)


  • Electronic waste
  • Reuse and Remanufacturing
  • Microwave oven

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