• E-Waste

E-Waste Scenario in India

Technological advancement and increased usage of Telecom, IT, Electronic digital equipment and Consumer Durables have created an alarming situation of an increased stream of electronic waste (e-waste) globally known as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Electronic waste or e-waste is an emerging problem as well as a business opportunity of increasing significance, given the volumes of e-waste being generated and the content of both toxic and valuable materials in them. The fraction including iron, copper, aluminium, gold and other metals in e-waste is over 60%, while pollutants comprise 2.70%. Given the high toxicity of these pollutants especially when burned or recycled in uncontrolled environments, the Basel Convention has identified e-waste as hazardous. India is facing a rapid increase in the amount of e-waste, both, from domestic generation and illegal imports

In a digitized world, the use of computers, cell phones, consumer electronic appliances and the like have reached enormous proportions and have become an integral part of a routine lifestyle. India is also facing the threat of the replacement market of developed countries by way of transboundary shipments of used electronic goods and items. The main reason why e-waste has become a global concern is the presence of toxic and hazardous substances in this equipment such as Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium and Brominated Flame-Retardants (BFR).

In the absence of an effective method for collection of e-waste and managing the hazardous constituents, it is likely to be disposed of in landfills resulting in high environmental risk and health hazards to human beings and animals or end up at the backyard units recycling such wastes using highly polluting technologies. The disposal of e-waste containing such hazardous substances in an environmentally sound manner has become a challenge in India and at global levels. Many countries have initiated steps for collection and safe disposal of e-waste. In India, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India (GOI) has published Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste in March 2008. E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream, growing at a compound annual growth of 29%

Current Worldwide Scenario of E-waste generated:

E-waste Generation in India

  1. Annual e-Waste: 2 Million MT (2016).
  2. 3 Million MT (estimated in the year 2018).

National Scenario of E-Waste:

  • Information and telecom fastest growing industry verticals
  • Manufacturing of Computer Hardware has grown from approx. INR 17,484 cr. in 2013-14 to
    approx. INR 21,401 cr. in 2017-18.
  • Consumer electronics market has been growing steadily at 27% from 2013-14 to 2017-18.
  • India has become the second-biggest smartphone market and usage of mobile phones in the
    the country is still rising.
  • E-waste recycling is presently concentrated in the informal (unorganized) sector i.e. 79%
    (1.58 Million MT)
  • In the organized sector, it is 21% (0.42Million MT)
  • Recycling operations engage in:
  • dismantling
  • sale of dismantled parts
  • valuable resource recovery
  • export of processed waste for precious metal recovery

Resources Embedded in E-Waste:

CPCB has updated average life of computers is six years, for TV and Washing Machine is Nine years and refrigerator is ten years. For the recycling of e-waste, India heavily depends on the unorganized sector as only a handful of organized e-waste recycling facilities are available. Over 79% of the e-waste is treated and processed in the majority of urban slums of the country, where untrained workers carry out the dangerous procedures without personal protective equipment, which are detrimental not only to their health but also to the environment.

Informal Recycling Concerns (negative):

  1. High-risk backyard operation-Adverse impact on environment and health.
  2. Environmental Hazard-Inefficient and polluting technologies used for material
    recovery- crude methods.
  3. Health hazards– Operations in small congested unsafe areas occupational.
  4. Loss of resources-inefficient process.

E-waste Guidelines-2016:

Guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management of E-waste’ published in March 2008 by GOI [MoEF & CPCB]. This includes Main Features of e-waste Guidelines and basic guidelines for handling of e-waste. Basic guidance document recognizing fundamental principles:

  1. Producer Responsibility (ERP)
  2. RoHS (Restriction on Hazardous Substances)
  3. Best practices
  4. Insight into technologies for various levels of recycling

There is a need for separate legislation mentioned in the guidelines for effective implementation of the principles governing the e-waste management

From Guidelines to Rules :

  • The Environmental Protection act of 1986 has provisions to make rules.
  • Separate rules for e-waste to provide for the effective control on the e-waste channels and its recycling activities.
  • The unanimity amongst stakeholders recommended separate
  • Draft e-waste rules prepared by GTZ, MAIT, GP, TL, Experts, Brand representative give to
    MoEF 2009.
  • Draft rules notified by MoEF in May 2010.
  • Draft rules notified by MoEF in May 2011.
  • E-Waste Management Rules 2016.
  • E- Waste (Management) Amendment Rules 2018.

E-Waste Generations (State-wise):

S.NO. State Percentage
1 Maharashtra 19.8%
2 Tamil Nadu 13%
3 Andra Pradesh 12.5%
4 Uttar Pradesh 10.1%
5 West Bengal 9.8%
6 Delhi 9.5%
7 Karnataka 8.9%
8 Gujarat 8.8%
9 Madhya Pradesh 7.6%

E Waste Recyclers and Their capacity :

States Units Capacity (in MTA)
Karnataka 57 44,620.50
Maharashtra 32 47810
Uttar Pradesh 22 86,130
Haryana 16 49,981
Tamil Nadu 14 52,427
Gujarat 12 37,262.12
Rajasthan 10 68,670
Telangana 4 11,800
Uttarakhand 3 28,000
Madhya Pradesh 3 8,985
Chattishgarh 2 1,650
Punjab 2 150
West Bengal 1 600
Orrisa 1 0
Total 178 438,085.62