Electronics Waste Recycling in India: Recycled in Deplorable Conditions

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Electronic waste, or e-waste, is one of the world’s fastest-growing issues, affecting both developing and developed countries. E-waste is made up of both useful and hazardous materials, and it has a negative effect on human health and the environment but with the help of Electronics Waste Recycling we can reduce the waste.  

Electronic waste, also referred to as e-scrap or e-waste, is the garbage generated by surplus, damaged, or obsolete electronic devices. Electronics contain a variety of poisonous and dangerous chemicals and products that, if not properly disposed of, are released into the atmosphere and the method of recovering material from old devices for use in new products is known as e-waste or electronics recycling.

What Happens to Gadgets After They Have Served Their Time?

Unsurprisingly, Just 20% of e-waste is recycled, and the rest of these electronic items end up in landfills. According to a UN study of electronic waste recycling, approximately 50 million tonnes of e-waste is discarded globally.

Copper, tin, iron, aluminum, fossil fuels, titanium, gold, and silver are all used in electronic devices. Many of the materials used to make these electronic devices, such as plastics, metals, and glass, can be recovered, reused, and recycled.

 

The Electronics Recycling Industry’s Current Challenges

The E-waste recycling industry faces numerous challenges, the most important of which is exporting to developing countries. Exporting e-waste, which includes dangerous and harmful products, exposes workers removing electronic devices in countries without sufficient environmental controls to significant health risks. Currently, 50–80 percent of the e-waste collected by recyclers is shipped abroad, including illegally exported e-scrap, which is a major concern.

 

Is my community kabadiwala (junk dealer) a viable option?

When you offer your e-waste to an unlicensed waste collector, you’re contributing to the unregulated market system that handles over 95% of all e-waste produced in India. These markets try to extract metals from devices in order to resell them, but they can do so with less skills per metal and without the requisite safety standards. “There are lots of unofficial dismantling and recycling units – Dharavi in Mumbai, Meerut, Moradabad, Seelampur in Delhi, and so many more – that engage in open-air burning of wires to extract copper and use cyanide-based acid to extract metals – at great risk to themselves and the environment.”

Once copper is extracted from a commodity, it returns to the secondary market, where it can be used in every part of the world. The main issue is the practices that are used.

What law covers the management of e-waste in India?

Since 2011, India has become the only country in Southern Asia with e-waste legislation, requiring that only approved dismantlers and recyclers collect e-waste. In total, the country now has 312 approved recyclers.

The E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016 (in force since October 2016) established collection goals and delegated responsibility to producers and proper electronic waste recycling – Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The companies are responsible for ensuring that waste and its  legal strategy are used by developed countries to facilitate and support electronic and polymer and promote waste reuse, recycling, and environmentally sustainable disposal.

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