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UBC Theses and Dissertations

System analysis perspectives : lead-acid battery recycling in British Columbia, Canada Alvares da Silva, Ana Carolina


This dissertation aims to use a system thinking approach to describe and evaluate the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Program in British Columbia, compare it with other provincial regulated recycling programs and identify strategies on how it can be improved. The research is presented in the manuscript based format, comprised of four interrelated chapters. Following the introduction, chapter 2 describes a multiple regression analysis to assess how various factors identified by informed stakeholders have contributed to recycling rate in 14 transportation zones from 1995 to 2005. This study demonstrates that the existing recycling scheme ineffectively promotes recycling as it has achieved an average of 75% over the past 13 years with large fluctuations among transportation zones. The regression also shows that recycling rate of transportation zones are not highly influenced by LME lead prices and Transportation Incentive (which can be explained by the strong market power of the recycling plants responsible for setting up the price of scrap lead to which the collectors respond). Chapter 3 identifies key components that influence the performance of varied recycling systems based on a comparative analysis of provincial recycling systems informed by expert interviews. In chapter 4, comprehensive evaluation criteria for the lead-acid battery recycling program is developed based on objectives and performance measures elicited through an extensive stakeholder consultation process with various individuals and organizations. Fundamental objectives identified by stakeholders include: reduce environmental impacts, reduce occupational health impacts, reduce net costs, increase equity in resource consumption patterns and increase systematic learning. In chapter 5, we use multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to design and assess effective recycling strategies to meet societal objectives previously identified in the chapter 4. Recycling strategies were compiled using the results of chapter 3. The results reveals that the optimal policy for the lead-acid battery recycling system combines a return to retailer program financed through an advanced disposal fee included in the battery price in combination with increased plant or recycling capacity domestically. This research also provides relevant contributions to the refining and application of value-focused thinking and decision analysis methodologies.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International