What is e-waste?
A- Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a term for any electronic item and electrical that has reached the end of its utility or lifecycle. Electronic products that have become unwanted, non-working or obsolete can be classified as e-waste. Television sets, mobile phones, home appliances all become electronic waste once they reach the end of their lifespan and are discarded by their owners. Since technology is evolving at a rapid pace, electronic devices are becoming obsolete within a few years.
How much e-waste does India generate?
A- India discarded 1.7 million tonnes (Mt) of electronic and electrical equipment in 2014, according to a UN report. According to the report, India is the fifth biggest producer of e-waste in the world. India is behind the U.S., China, Japan and Germany.
Which are the states generating the maximum amount of e-waste in India?
A- According to a recent study, There are 10 states that contribute to 70% of the total e-waste generated in the country. Maharashtra ranks first followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka and West Bengal.
What are the main sources of e-waste in India?
The main sources of electronic waste in India are the government, public and private (industrial) sectors, which account for almost 71% of total waste generation. The contribution of individual households is relatively small at about 16%; the rest being contributed by manufacturers.
How is India recycling its e-waste?
Of the total e-waste generated in India, approximately 1.5% is recycled by formal recyclers or institutional processing and recycling. Another 8% of the e-waste generated is rendered useless and goes to landfills. The remaining 90.5% of the e-waste is being handled by the informal sector. See our e-waste ecosystem illustration and case-studies here (backlink to videos, or to an illustration of the e-waste recycling process)
How much e-waste is coming into India from other countries?
While there are no recent figures since the GOI banned the import of E-Waste, there seem to be ways that it finds itself in the market place. To the extent that E-Waste is smuggled on an International level. Please watch this news report from 60 Minutes, a reputed US news organization. As a Recycler, there’s no way to Import in e-Waste, process it and be in legal compliance. We have to account for whom and how much, when we declare total outputs for each fiscal year.
Do all electronic items qualify as e-waste at the end of their life cycle?
Yes. All electronic devices like shavers, mobile phones, TV’s, refrigerators, microwaves etc become electronic waste at the end of their utility or life-cycle.
What are the harmful effects of e-waste?
Electronic waste contains a plethora of toxic components including Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Polybrominated Flame Retardants, Barium and Lithium. Even the plastic casings of electronics products contain Polyvinyl Chloride. The health effects of these toxins on humans include birth defects, brain, heart, liver, kidney and skeletal system damage. Exposure to these toxins also significantly affect the nervous and reproductive systems of the human body. High and prolonged exposure to chemicals/ pollutants emitted during unsafe e-waste recycling leads to damage of almost all major body systems.
How does e-waste harm the environment?
E-waste accounts for approximately 40% of lead and 70% of heavy metals found in landfills. These pollutants lead to groundwater and air pollution and soil acidification.
What are the precious metals in e-waste?
A- Electronic equipment contains various fractions of valuable materials. Most of the valuable substances are found in printed circuit boards, which are found in almost every electronic device. Besides well known precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium, scarce materials like indium and gallium are also found in some modern day products.
How are kabbadiwallahs a part of the e-waste ecosystem?
Local kabbadiwalahs are key stakeholders in the e-waste ecosystem since they are the prime e-waste collectors from businesses and households. The e-waste collected by these kabbadiwallahs then goes to the informal recycling sector- which accounts for 90% of e-waste recycling in India.
What are the key regulations in India wrt to e-waste?
E-waste (Management and Handling) Amendment Rules, 2015 and e-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, Ministry of Environment & Forests , 2011 are the two major regulations in the area of e-waste in India.