E-Waste Management in Malaysia: Residents’ Willingness to Pay for Household E-Waste Recycling in Kuching, Sarawak: Social Science Research Paper, UMS, Malaysia
|University||Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UMS)|
The rapid increase of e-waste in the world is a global issue. Studies have shown that 53.5 million tons of e-waste has been produced worldwide in 2019, with 7.3 kilograms of e-waste generated per capita (Forti et al., 2020). In 1970, the global human race was only inhabited by 3.7 billion individuals, while it marks more than 7 billion inhabitants in 2016 (World Bank, 2016). It is estimated that the world population would likely exceed 9 billion by 2050 and could potentially reach 11 billion by 2100 (Koops & Van, 2017).
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A significant increase in the human population growth and the limitations of assimilative capacity of the environment and natural resources to produce electronic goods demands for sustainable e-waste management. According to Wath (2010), sustainable e-waste management (SEWM) also plays a pivotal role in India as a developing country. SEWM was defined as the ability for people to uphold or partake in e-waste recycling activities in order to reduce the amount of global e-waste that ends up in landfills or being exposed in the surrounding environment.
To practice sustainable e-waste management, people are recommended to recycle the e-waste products formally in e-waste recycling facilities provided. It is not only to save the costs of production in the electronic manufacturing industry due to raw material scarcity, but also to save the environment and well-being of humanity. In fact, the improper management of e-waste allows toxic chemical leachates to be exposed to the environment, endangering human health (Utkucan et al., 2010). Hence, sustainable e-waste management as a systematic approach is a must to economic development.
The world population consumed around 50% more natural resources back in 2009 compared to the 1970s (FOE Europe, 2009). The natural resources required for electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) production are facing a decline due to the increasing demand for electronic gadgets, appliances, and equipment (George, 2018). The raw materials used in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) include precious metals such as gold, silver, palladium and platinum (Prince & Izant, 2015). In addition, base metals such as iridium, nickel, rhodium, and copper are also essential materials required in EEE production (Yong et al., 2019). Based on a report provided by the Matric Group (2021), electrical components have been in shortage worldwide especially since the pandemic in 2020, with a 30% growth in demand for semiconductors.
In many developing countries such as Malaysia, the recycling process of industrial e-waste is often closely monitored by the relevant authorities such as the Department of Environment (DoE). The Environmental Quality Act 1974 for industrial E-Waste Management (EWM) includes not allowing any form of industrial e-waste to be disposed of without supervision by the Malaysian government. Therefore, the e-waste mentioned should be recycled in licensed premises and its disposal should be carried out in formal e-waste recycling facilities (Hamzah et al., 2011). However, management of household e-waste is often taken lightly and not formally engaged in a systematic process in Malaysia, unlike the proper procedures in disposing of household e-wastes in Singapore with the help of their local e-waste collectors (Wong, 2015). Therefore, it was suggested that governance play a role in shaping the necessity to recycle household e-waste instead of placing the expectation on its residents to manage their household e-wastes properly (Hamzah, 2011).
1.2 The E-Waste Recycling Process
The proper and formal manner of e-waste management in developed countries such as Japan involves separating and dismantling components of e-waste as the first stage of turning waste into a new resource (Cho, 2018). After the separation and dismantling process, the differentiated e-waste components are shredded in state-of-the-art recycling facilities (Cho, 2018). After that, the hydrometallurgy process occurs, where e-waste debris is soaked in an aqueous solution, allowing the leaching process to occur, whereby the metals are separated accordingly by type (Habashi, 2017).
On the other hand, the pyrometallurgy process is also used to differentiate metals from e-waste. It occurs when chunks of crunched e-waste debris are heated under a high temperature, separating the metals through electrolysis under high heat inside a furnace. This method is known to be more efficient because it can extract more metals that are more refined (Habashi, 2017). However, the hydrometallurgy process to differentiate e-waste is more common in developing countries such as Malaysia due to its lower cost of operation (Yong et al., 2019).
In Malaysia, the recycling rate of e-waste was estimated to be around 25% of the total e-waste discarded (Lim, 2019). In contrast, the remaining e-waste that is not recycled correctly is estimated to be valued at about three billion Ringgit per annum and could possibly be a source of alternative income for the country (Lim, 2019). According to Yong et al. (2019), the pyrometallurgy process gains more metal recovery in e-waste recycling than the hydrometallurgy method. Nevertheless, only one (Johor) out of eight e-waste recycling facilities throughout Malaysia practice the pyrometallurgy method (Yu et al., 2019).
The pyrometallurgy process requires a significantly higher cost estimated by e-waste recyclers due to its heavier production costs, generally utilized in a bigger recycling scale. However, Malaysia is still lacking in terms of the e-waste collection rate due to the relatively lower percentage of e-waste collected back from consumers (Habashi, 2017). In 2020, Malaysia’s targeted e-waste collection amount is set at 200 metric tons (200,000 kg) for its whole nation. To achieve this challenge, the Sarawak’s Department of Environment (DoE) planned an e-waste recycling campaign in 2020, where 27 metric tons (27,000 kg) of e-waste was collected in Kuching within that time (Chang, 2020).
1.3 E-Waste Management Policies
As previously stated, Basel Convention is an international treaty that manages the transboundary movement of hazardous waste. The existence of this agreement is mainly to curb and reduce the transport of dangerous substances from developed countries to developing nations (Kummer, 1992). Nevertheless, the illegal transportation of e-waste persists throughout developing countries such as China (Liu, 2006). However, these unlawful e-waste transport activities have been reduced since it was banned in China by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China in 2018 (Wang et al., 2021).
Additionally, the Ministry of Environment and Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Japan enforced the Japanese Electrical Home Appliance Recycling (JEHAR) law that is based on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) (Chaudhary & Vrat, 2018). Unlike Malaysia having informal practices in managing household e-waste among its residents, the EPR concept engaged under the JEHAR law in Japan makes it mandatory for electronic manufacturers to take back their e-waste products (Chung & Murakami, 2008). This procedure can minimize the amount of e-waste discarded improperly in Japan, having their citizens worry less about their household EEE that has reached its EOL (end-of-life) (Chung & Murakami, 2008).
However, the recycling services provided by the electronic manufacturers to recycle e-waste in Japan comes with a Pre-Disposal Fee (PDF) that is mandatory for every household EEE to purchase (Song et al., 2012). Since 1998, after the Japanese Home Appliance Recycling Law (JEHAR) was enforced in Japan, household EEE consumers and producers of EEE shared responsibilities to discard e-waste formally (Song et al., 2012). Whether it would be possible to suggest having PDF (pre-disposal fees) in Kuching is a question to be raised in this study.
Furthermore, among the ASEAN members, developing countries such as Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia are known to be managing e-waste in an unsustainable manner (Ibitz, 2012). Unfortunately, ASEAN members of developing nations were unable to compromise and come to a unilateral decision on the policies for e-waste management in their respective countries. The notion that states act accordingly to expected benefits gained is one of the primary reasons behind the failure to comply with a standard policy response due to a stalemate in searching for their common benefits (Ibitz, 2012).
Ismail and Hanafiah (2019) expressed that despite Malaysia being a country where regulations for e-waste management (EQRSW05 – Environmental Quality Regulations for Scheduled Waste 2005) are present for industrial e-waste in the country, proper e-waste management methods among resident households are still not developed. The household e-waste disposed of by Malaysian residents is not only mixed with municipal solid waste (MSW); residents also assume that the Malaysian government is supposed to hold full responsibilities for household e-waste recycling in the country (Kamaruddin et al., 2017).
1.4 The E-Waste Situation in Malaysia
Many households in Malaysia are still practising informal methods in EWM, such as disposing of e-waste to scavengers who live on e-waste trading for a living because e-waste owners get paid to give their household e-waste to them (Wong, 2015). In Malaysia, proper methods of disposing of e-waste are only feasible by sending it to a licensed e-waste recycling facility (Cho, 2018). However, such facilities are outnumbered by the total amount of e-waste accumulated every year (Yong et al., 2019).
Furthermore, only a handful of e-waste recycling facilities in Malaysia can provide convenient e-waste recycling services such as household e-waste doorstep collections for Malaysians (Yong, 2019). Therefore, Yong (2019) states that Malaysian residents are unwilling to pay for EWR as they are still required to send their household e-wastes to the e-waste recycling facilities provided under their own expense in Penang (Yong et al., 2019). Nonetheless, the current status of e-waste management in Malaysia has only been commonly highlighted in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur (Akhtar et al., 2014).
The significant increase in demand for electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) in Malaysia has not fallen short during the pandemic since March 2020 (Chern, 2020). It is reported that a steep hike in demand for electrical household appliances has been evident, especially between May till June 2020, when the Movement Control Order (MCO) is partially lifted in the country (Chern, 2020). The demand for electrical home appliances such as fans, microwaves, electric ovens, food mixers and printers has spiked since Malaysian residents must work from home (Chern, 2020). Therefore, this shows that it is significant for the public to take household EWM seriously as the amount of e-waste accumulated increases yearly. Without a systematic approach in curbing this issue, greater amounts of household e-waste would only end up in landfills of the country.
1.5 Willingness to Pay for Household E-Waste Recycling
Scholars from China, Bangladesh, Macau and Malaysia have utilized the concept of willingness to pay (WTP) to measure the maximum amount of money their respective respondents in their respective countries willingly pay for something of no market value (Daud et al., 2012). The WTP is a term used in the subject of economics. It is defined by Daud et al. (2012) as the most significant amount of money that a person will be ready to pay, forgo or trade-off for services or to prevent unwanted events from happening such as avoiding the cultivation of a polluted environment (that brings no benefit to anyone).
In this research, the residents’ willingness to pay (WTP) is projected on their answers of being “yes” or “no” in paying for a variety of household electrical appliances in Kuching. The willingness-to-pay (WTP) of residents in Kuching for household e-waste recycling in this research may reflect the residents’ concern towards a better environment, contributing to reducing environmental pollution caused by improper household e-waste disposal. Researchers utilize the WTP concept to instill value onto something of zero market value (Daud et al., 2012).
The contingent valuation method (CVM) is supposedly a crucial tool in this research as it is used to determine every respondent’s WTP for household EWM in Kuching. The CVM approach allows the research participants to state their preferred WTP amount in monetary values (MYR), which expresses the WTP for environmental benefits or to accept and be willing to pay for the prevention of environmental pollution through HEWR (household e-waste recycling) (Carson, 2020). However, exact values of currency willing to be paid by residents in this research can only be obtained by multiplying the percentage chosen by respondents and the current market values of the respective household electrical items listed.
1.6 Problem Statement
The accumulation of electronic and electrical waste in the world has been ongoing and labelled as a socio-environmental issue to be addressed (UNEP, 2007). Widmer et al. (2005) defined e-waste as “a generic term embracing multiple forms of electronic equipment that have stopped to be of any value to their owners” (p.439). In addition, the EU Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament (EU 2002) has defined e-waste as a list of categories listed in Table 1.
This study aims to answer the following research questions:
- . How is the current status of EWM among residents in Kuching?
- How are the residents’ WTP for household e-waste recycling (HEWR) in Kuching?
- How are the socio-demographic and psychological factors affecting WTP among residents in Kuching for HEWR?
1.8 Research Objectives
The objectives of this study are as follows:
. To examine the EWM situation among residents in Kuching;
- To determine the WTP of residents for household e-waste recycling in Kuching;
- To analyse the socio-demographic (age, gender, household location, level of income, education level, the number of family members in a single household) and psychological factors (government subsidy, peer pressure and environmental awareness) of respondents against their willingness-to-pay (WTP) for household e-waste recycling in Kuching.
1.9 Significance of the Study
The study of the WTP of residents for e-waste management (EWM) is essential because it facilitates the state-of-art e-waste recycling facilities and technologies that can sustain the amount of e-waste produced yearly in Malaysia (Hamzah et al., 2013). An estimated one million tons of e-waste produced in 2019 in Malaysia was worth around RM3 billion, and this amount of e-waste remains un-recycled (Lim, 2019). On the other hand, Afroz et al. (2013) has carried out a study on the WTP for e-waste recycling by the residents in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). Still, they have not included WTP variables such as the number of household members in a single household, government subsidy and environmental perception into the equation. Therefore, a study proposed in Kuching for EWM in terms of its current status, WTP of residents for EWM and factors influencing WTP for EWM is essential to be carried out in this study.
The findings could potentially shed light for policymakers to impose an advanced disposal fee (ADF) or an e-waste recycling tax in Sarawak if the research findings show that residents in Kuching are willing to pay for household e-waste recycling. In addition, private companies and multinational corporations (MNCs) may also look into the positive research results to capitalize upon the e-waste recycling and management business if the findings obtained in this study is in favour of their interests. With a potential research result of knowing the willingness of financially independent residents to pay for e-waste recycling, a new business model may be viable. Hence, allowing a hypothetical benefit to be brought forth to society. Also, new job opportunities related to the e-waste management (EWM) sector can reduce e-waste and increase society’s efforts in moving towards sustainable development, turning waste into a resource (Atinkut et al., 2020).
The current situation of e-waste management in Malaysia is understood to have ample space for improvement for several reasons (Yong et al., 2019; Bashir et al., 2020). Firstly, the residents of Malaysia are still disposing of their waste without strictly separating them into recyclable categories due to the lax in governmental law enforcements in waste management, thereby incurring more costs if wastes were differentiated by third parties (Saeed et al., 2009; Moh et al., 2014; Tiew et al., 2019). Secondly, MNCs’ lack of financial support, technological advancements for e-waste recycling, and a proper e-waste collection system are still concerning (Kang et al. 2020). Without the appropriate data in e-waste financing, multinational companies (MNCs) would not determine a feasible business model for the process to succeed. However, minimal academic writings in Kuching prove that the situation is the same in East Malaysia (poor e-waste management issue).
In developed countries such as Europe, more excellent rates in e-waste recycling and e-waste collection is shown compared to developing countries (Soo et al., 2013; Ylä-Mella & Román, 2019). The advancement in e-waste management is prominent enough to have mobile trucks that recycle e-waste instantly after collecting e-waste from residents in the United States (Ceballos et al., 2020). Therefore, more research is to be done in Malaysia to determine the resident’s willingness to pay (WTP) for their e-waste. The main issues faced by stakeholders in Malaysia are the lack of financial resources and technological advancements to facilitate e-waste recycling (Hamzah et al., 2011; Jayaraman et al., 2018).
The discoveries of this study should redound to the well-being of the society in Malaysia, considering that the increasing amount of e-waste justifies the need to make e-waste recycling more convenient and viable for the public. Hence, proposing a study regarding the consumer’s willingness to pay (WTP) to manage e-waste should inform policymakers and stakeholders. In the initial stage, many investments in e-waste recycling machines and facilities are essential to sustain e-waste recycling at a significant scale.
1.10 Chapter Summary
This Chapter provides a general introduction about the importance of sustainable e-waste management and the intention behind the study of e-waste management in the context of Malaysia, in which the Kuching division has been chosen as the case study of the research. From a global perspective, managing household e-waste has been a prolonging issue many people face globally. The amount of e-waste has only been increasing yearly and hardly reduced, especially in developing countries (Yong et al., 2019). Therefore, sustainable household e-waste recycling solutions are essential to ensure that the environment no longer suffers from improper e-waste disposal.
Prioritizing sustainable household e-waste management is vital to recycle more e-waste instead of being treated as worthless waste in landfills. Industrial e-waste has always been formally managed and sent to e-waste recycling facilities (Wong, 2015). However, household e-waste management is still lacking due to a comprehensive legislative framework to sustain and control household e-waste disposal by the residents residing in Malaysia (Suja et al., 2014).
A study on the willingness to pay (WTP) for e-waste management or e-waste recycling among the residents of Kuching will be carried out to understand the possible solutions to improve sustainable household e-waste management in Malaysia. Most of the studies about e-waste management (EWM) in Malaysia mainly focused on bigger cities such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Hence, this study is carried out based on the perspectives of Sarawak, with Kuching being the population sample of this research.
The current household e-waste management status in Kuching will be highlighted based on a population sample to understand Sarawak’s household e-waste recycling process. The questions raised to answer the first objective in this research include the total amount of e-waste collected per year among the respondents. Next, the methods of disposal of e-waste would also be analyzed in the targeted study area, compared to the e-waste management and recycling processes in developed countries. Last but not least, factors affecting WTP for household e-waste recycling would also be an essential aspect to be researched in this study.
2.1 The Global E-waste Management Situation
The increasing amount of e-waste accumulated worldwide is an issue to be addressed. Furthermore, the continuous increase in e-waste generated is recognized as a socio-environmental problem (Tanskanen, 203; Hossain et al., 2015). Agusdinata et al. (2018) showed that lithium batteries (e-waste components) had increased almost eight times in the past ten years due to the increasing demand for consumer EEE over time. Therefore, the proper management and recycling of EOL lithium batteries are momentous for sustainable EWM (Agusdinata et al., 2018). These lithium batteries are commonly found in portable consumer electronics such as hand-held vacuum cleaners, mobile phones and laptops (Lee et al., 2012).
Besides, e-waste management situations vary across different countries. For instance, developed countries such as Switzerland, Germany and Japan are significantly ahead of Malaysia regarding the systematic process of household e-waste recycling. However, economic incentives in developed countries for household e-waste recycling carries no monetary value, unlike in developing countries where consumers are expected to gain financial incentives from disposing of their EOL household e-waste (Wong, 2015; Dias et al., 2019).
2.2 E-Waste Management in Developed Countries
The studies carried out under e-waste management (EWM) worldwide have fostered a debate on developed countries disposing of their e-waste to developing countries (Baldé et al., 2017). Nevertheless, Switzerland, Germany, and Japan are exceptions to the general trait of illegal e-waste transportation (Chaudhary & Vrat, 2018). Each of the three countries has banned the exportation of e-waste and has withheld their methods of legalizing a systematic way of recycling e-waste and transporting them back to EEE producers, well known as the EPR (extended producer responsibility) approach in terms of EWM. It has not only saved their environment from the contamination of improper disposal of e-waste. Still, it has also contributed to providing a benchmark for e-waste management to developing countries such as India (Chaudhary & Vrat, 2018).
In Switzerland, there are two organizations: SWISCO (The Swiss Association for Information, Communication and Organizational Technology) and S.EN.S. (Stiftung für Entsorgung Schweiz). They are assigned roles as PROs (Producer Responsibility Organizations) (Chaudhary & Vrat, 2018). These two organizations are mainly responsible for proper EWM based on the EPR (extended producer responsibility) system, which is voluntarily proposed by EEE producers as an initiative to manage e-waste. The PROs also act as the middle-man to the EEE producers and retailers by fixing boundaries of all the actors (consumers, e-waste collectors) in the e-waste recycling process (Chaudhary & Vrat, 2018). The implementation of an ARF (Advance Recycling Fee) is a principle followed by the EWM authorities to finance and facilitate EWM in Switzerland under ORDEA (The Ordinance on ‘The Return, the Taking Back and the Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Appliances’) (Hischier et al., 2005).
On the other hand, the PuWaMA (Public Waste Management Authorities), private EEE producers and EAR (Electro-Altgeräte Register) are the three main actors in Germany for e-waste management (Deubzer, 2011). In addition, the rest of the key actors in terms of EWM in Germany include the EEE retailers and consumers of EEE (Chaudhary & Vrat, 2018). The Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElectroG) describes a clear set of laws concerning EWM involving manufacturers, EEE traders, solid waste municipalities, owners of EEE and e-waste collectors. The relative roles of the actors mentioned in the success of e-waste management and recycling are drafted in the ElectroG, regulated by the Federal Environmental Agency. All of the marketed EEE products must be registered with the EAR before being distributed and sold to the consumers (Chaudhary & Vrat, 2018). The PuWaMa (Public Waste Management Authorities) are liable to the EAR to perform e-waste collection based on the EPR system (Chaudhary & Vrat, 2018).
In Japan, sustainable EWM is achieved with the financial contribution from the EEE consumers and the EEE manufacturers (Lee, 2010). The EEE companies partially bound the e-waste recycling costs in Japan as corporate responsibilities for e-waste controlled in an environmentally friendly manner (Schnoor, 2012). Furthermore, every resident in Japan is required to pay a pre-disposal fee (PDF) before purchasing any type of electrical appliance in the country as the end-of-life (EOL) goods will be taken back by the manufacturers for proper recycling (Song et al., 2012). This infamous take-back procedure in EWM is also well known as the extended producer responsibility (EPR) principle (Chung & Murakami, 2008).
Besides, the Japanese law on EWM includes the Basic Law enacted in 2000 that promotes the importance of prioritizing recycling and reusing to curb the issue of heavy reliance on landfills and the limited resources for EEE producers (Sawhney et al., 2008). It has not only allowed normalizing recycling habits among the residents in Japan but also intends to prepare people to accept the laws that were enacted in 2001; which is the Japanese Electrical Home Appliance Recycling Law and the Law for Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources (Sawhney et al., 2008).
To summarise, it is shown that the EWM systems in the countries mentioned above have a common strategy in managing e-waste, that is, the EPR system that depicts the extended responsibilities towards the EEE producers. Moreover, the formation of an organization assigned to coordinate and assign third parties to manage e-waste collection can also be found in the EWM systems in Japan, Germany and Switzerland. However, Japan has not shown a holistic approach in covering more areas in the types of e-waste collected. It is due to the specific categories of e-waste being mandatory to be ordered back under the JEHARL. The Association for Electric Home Appliances appointed by the government is responsible for collecting e-waste categories that are solely fallen under the categories listed under the enactment. On the contrary, German and Swiss e-waste collectors would collect all e-waste discovered regardless of specified types (Chaudhary & Vrat, 2018).
2.3 E-Waste Management in Malaysia
In Malaysia, e-waste management (EWM) has been more commonly labelled an infantry stage (Yong et al., 2019). People’s level of awareness about e-waste management (EWM) in Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur, was relatively lower than in developed countries (Alfroz et al., 2013). However, it is noted that most of the EWM studies in Malaysia were only circumferencing regions in the west of the country (West Malaysia). Hence, raising the question of whether the EWM situation is the same in Sarawak?
In Selangor, Hamzah et al. (2011) managed to capture the residents’ improper disposal images of e-waste disposed of on the streets, mainly focusing on how the Malaysian government played a limited role in governing EWM under the Environmental Quality Act 2005 (EQA05). Based on EQA05, it is prohibited for any forms of hazardous waste to be disposed of into the surrounding environment of Malaysia (The Commissioner of Law Revision, 2006). However, the e-waste situation in Selangor, as stated, is still in a state where e-waste is not managed well because e-waste was still simply disposed of in the surrounding areas (Hamzah et al., 2011).
Furthermore, legal loopholes persist in the EQA05 (Wong, 2015). The legal law statement in the EQA05 stated that for exceptional cases, licensed vendors are allowed to eradicate hazardous waste into the environment, allowing e-waste (hazardous waste) to be exposed in designated areas (The Commissioner of Law Revision, 2006). It harms Malaysia’s surrounding environment and contradicts the Basel Convention 1989 (BC89), an international treaty commenced by the world’s leaders to prohibit the illegal transboundary transportation and exposure of hazardous waste into the environment (Kummer, 1992). However, limited studies were shown to highlight the EWM status in Sarawak, leaving a study gap under EWM in the east region of Malaysia (East Malaysia).
Electronic and electrical manufacturers’ availability of natural resources to produce EEE was never boundless and remains limited (George et al., 2018). Nevertheless, the rise in the global population number and the increase in demand for electrical goods urged the need to engage in sustainable EWM (Heacock et al., 2015). Sustainable e-waste management is enhanced when e-waste is treated in designated recycling facilities in developed countries such as Japan, ensuring their electronic producers hold responsibilities to recycle the products that reached their end-of-life (EOL) (Yong et al., 2019).
The possibilities of executing the EPR principle in Malaysia in terms of sustainable e-waste management (EWM) was analysed by Agamuthu (2011). The results showed that Malaysia intended to implement the EPR principle in the state (Agamuthu, 2011). However, there are still many implications, such as not having the agreement from the relevant stakeholders in the electrical industry to comply with the e-waste take-back system in Malaysia (Agamuthu, 2011). The parties involved were unable to conclude who should bear full responsibilities for the costs of e-waste management, and the discussion remains in a stalemate (Agamuthu, 2011; Hamzah et al., 2011). What would the situation in Kuching be since there has been limited information obtained regarding the matter from the perspectives of East Malaysia?
2.4 Residents WTP for E-waste Recycling and its Factors
Afroz et al. (2013) discussed the resident’s WTP for proper e-waste recycling in Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur. However, Afroz et al. (2013) expressed whether the residents were willing to pay (yes or no answers) for e-waste recycling. From their study, 52.5% of the respondents were willing to pay to recycle e-waste, while 47.5% of the respondents showed a negative response (Afroz et al., 2013). The study in WTP of e-waste in Malaysia is to learn whether imposing an ADF (advanced disposal fee) is feasible in the country, having Japan, Germany and Switzerland as the role model in terms of EWM.
In addition, the study carried out by Song et al. (2012) showed that 64.91% of the residents agreed to pay a monthly fee for e-waste recycling while 35.09% of them refused to do so in Macau. However, a lower percentage of residents were willing to pay for proper e-waste management in Bangladesh (10%), where most of the residents think that it is the responsibility of their government in e-waste management (Islam et al., 2016). From the research carried out by Song et al. (2012) in Macau and Cai et al. (2019) in China, the willingness to pay (WTP) of residents to recycle e-waste is US$ 2.50 and US$ 1.90, respectively. How would the WTP for EWR be in Malaysia?
Despite having known the percentages of residents being willing and not willing to pay for e-waste recycling in the respective regions carried out by Song et al. (2012) and Afroz et al. (2013), it is noticed that the results were obtained without taking into account the current market values of the various types of household electrical appliances available. On the other hand, although Moussiopoulos et al. (2012) has applied the CVM in conducting their study, a limited variety of household appliances were only included in the study mentioned. Hence, allowing this research in Kuching to fill in the research gap inspired from the respective scholars mentioned by including ten types of household electrical appliances, relating it to how willing residents are to pay for e-waste recycling based on the different types of HEW.
According to Wang et al. (2019), the determinants of e-waste recycling among its residents in China are the income and the education level pursued by the respondents, similar to the factors determined by Cai et al. (2019) in Zhuhai, China. A resident that has undergone a master’s degree is more likely to contribute financially to e-waste management (Wang et al., 2019). Islam et al. (2016) and Song et al. (2012) recorded a similar result based on their research on the willingness to pay (WTP) for e-waste management in Bangladesh and Macau, respectively, showing that education levels play an influential role in the tendency for respondents to contribute financially to EWM. However, the studies done by Song et al. (2012), Cai et al. (2019), Islam et al. (2016) and Wang et al. (2019) has not included the number of family members, government subsidy and environmental perception as WTP variables into their research.
According to Atinkut et al. (2020), WTP for eco-friendly agriculture waste management (AWM) were determined by a few factors such as age, knowledge in AWM, economic conditions, government subsidy, environmental perception and the number of family members in a single household. From the EWM point of view, Afroz et al. (2013) and Islam et al. (2016) had only included awareness level, education level and income level as their primary factors to affect WTP for EWM without considering variables such as age, the number of family members, environmental perception and government subsidy in their study.
Nevertheless, Song et al. (2012) state that age is significant in influencing WTP for e-waste recycling in Macau. Their study also shows that a younger age pool between 19-25 years old has a higher tendency to be willing to pay for e-waste recycling and management, while the family size is insignificant when WTP for e-waste is measured. The study mentioned has focused on the current status of e-waste management in Macau; hence, factors of EWM in Kuching are included in relation to Song et al. (2012)’s study to express a new perspective of EWM in the context of Malaysia.
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- Anthony and Hannah are a young married couple who got married nine years ago. Both of them are 32 years old and have three children: Personal Finance and Insurance Assignment, APU, Malaysia