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.
Which are the states generating the maximum amount of e-waste in India?
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)
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.
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.
How can we dispose e-waste responsibly?
The best way to do this is by returning your used electronics for responsible recycling, rather than throwing them in the trash. The key to responsible e-waste recycling is knowing where your stuff will end up and whether it will be recycled responsibly without causing harm to human beings or environment.