Constructed governance as solution to conflicts in e-waste recycling networks

Fernanda Pedro, Ernesto Giglio*, Luis Velazquez Contreras, Nora Munguia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Electronic waste (e-waste) has become an increasingly pressing problem worldwide because of the increase in the volume of waste, without a corresponding increase in the recycling rate. E-waste recycling models show a low percentage of reuse, at around 17.4% in the world, 11% in Latin America, and 3% in São Paulo City, Brazil. The sources of conflicts relating to e-waste recycling networks are diverse, including asymmetries of objectives, knowledge, ethical values, and culture of sustainability, which indicates the need for a system of regulatory mechanisms. The article’s main proposition is that constructed governance, which is a collective process involving many actors, could be an alternative to e-waste recycling management. The city of São Paulo was chosen to be analyzed. Using an abductive methodology, the data analysis shows a fragmented network, with conflicts of interest among commercial and sustainability objectives, an absence of legal knowledge, and increases in the incorrect disposal of waste. However, initiatives in small groups in Brazil, which can be considered as examples of constructed governance, show a better volume of waste and the transportation of waste material to the right destination. The authors argue that constructed governance could be an efficient tool for e-waste recycling management systems. Besides, the article offers a matrix of indicators that can be used by both researchers and recycling managers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1701
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Asymmetry
  • Constructed governance
  • E-waste
  • Networks
  • Recycling
  • Sustainability


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