E-Waste Management: Not a Hurdle, But an Opportunity for the Indian Market




Around the world, developing countries like India and China are becoming the favourite dumping destinations of Waste from Electrical and Electronics Equipment (WEEE) or E-waste because of their poor laws and regulations. India’s capital, Delhi – NCR region, is turning into the world’s dumping yard for electronic waste and could collectively generate more than 95,000 metric tons (MT) per annum by 2017. While there is no organized sector handling this waste generated, the paper discusses various aspects to set up recycling plants which will have facilities to dismantle, segregate and recycle this e-waste. All the Electronics waste contains some amount of precious material like gold, silver, etc. Collecting this material and refurbishing the waste into usable material is an opportunity for the Indian market. This paper discusses the possibility of a partnership between an electronics company and the customer to tackle the issue of electronic waste by recycling electronic components. Recycling electronic items at a mass level will not only solve the problem of e-waste but also provide employment to the skilled and semi- skilled youth of the country.


Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) includes a wide variety of domestic and commercial products like refrigerators, air conditioners, televisions, laptops, desktops, smart phones, computing machines, robots in industry, etc. which are rejected by the consumer or industry[1]. These devices contain lots of toxic materials like mercury, chromium, arsenic, lead, cadmium and plastics, which should be treated well before disposing the waste [2].

StEP, a collaborative organization of solving the e-waste problem states, “E-waste is a general term; it can be considered to cover TVs, computers, mobile phones, white goods (e.g. fridges, washing machines, dryers etc.), home entertainment and stereo systems, toys, toasters, kettles – almost any household or business item with circuitry or electrical components with power or battery supply.” [3]

Currently, e-waste recycling is a highly unorganized sector in India, where any e-waste product is generally dumped. At most, the product is repaired or the valuables are mined from the gadget and the rest is dumped. The uniqueness of the proposed idea is to ensure that each and every discarded electronic item can be recycled by defining the responsibility at the individual level. We also tend to retain and reuse things which are useable. The reused items contribute to very low cost “Refurbished” gadgets. Any recycling should be done using non-toxic methods and outputs. The non-recyclable material will be fed to incinerators and treated.

The idea is to recycle this e-waste, including metal burning, silicon recycling, plastics and other materials, all in one place without exception. So, if a gadget is to be discarded, the user will simply contact the nearest dump centre or collection centre of the company to which the product belongs. In return, the user will get an acceptable price after an evaluation of the product. The product will be recycled and the toxic waste will be disposed of safely. The recycling of waste from scrap dealers and companies will be done at par with international standards.

The major driver will be the cost of recycling, recovery and disposal, which is much cheaper in India when compared to that in developed countries.

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