Exploring E-waste Management Practices in South African Organisations

Tlhalefo Petterson Moyo, Sam Lubbe, Kenneth Ohei


The previous studies have delineated the weakness and drawbacks of e-waste practices in various organisations. However, these studies failed to address major issues relating to effective e-waste management, hence the high rate of obsolescence of electronic equipment continues to grow becoming the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Organisations are paying little attention to the environmental aspects, and there is limited research surrounding e-waste in South African organisations. The primary motivation of the study was to determine the current e-waste practices in the South African organisations to contribute to sustainable e-waste management. The sample was drawn from ten South African organisations from the viewpoint of Information Technology (IT) professionals and managers through semi-structured interviews. The findings of the study revealed that there is a lack of environmental awareness programme in South African organisations, research is not conducted during the procurement process and there is no procurement strategy, limited budget is provided to purchase electronic equipment, hardware’s and software’s are not upgraded to extend the life span of electronic equipment, and data is not managed appropriately, there is lack of recycling capacity, obsolete electronic is not properly disposed of, and there is non-conformance to environmental legislations due to lack of enforcement. The study recommends an increased environmental awareness programme in South African organisations, research to be conducted prior purchasing, develop procurement strategy, provide sufficient budget and purchase environmentally friendly electronic equipment that are less harmful to the environment. The hardware’s and software’s should be upgraded to extend the life span of electronic equipment, and recycling of e-waste should be conducted to reduce and manage e-waste. To some extent, obsolete electronic equipment should be returned to the supplier to ensure safe disposal, and effort should be made to ensure regulatory compliance with the environmental legislations.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/rwe.v14n1p12

Research in World Economy
ISSN 1923-3981(Print)ISSN 1923-399X(Online)


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