How we generate e-waste The dustbin in your home and the local kabbadiwala (scrap dealer) are contributing to e-waste. In the former you are likely to throw small stuff like your cell phone's charger, the battery of a torch or a computer cable. At the latter's shop you get rid of larger things like a tube light or CPU or monitor or printer or fax machine. Electrical or electronic, all these, along with their parts & accessories, are e-waste materials, highly dangerous to humans and the environment in general, even contributing to global warming.
There have been reports of how India's cities are used as a site to dump the e-waste generated from other countries. Within the country itself, there are mammoth tons of such e-waste, with what is thrown in dustbins ending up along with general municipal waste at a city's dumping ground; and what is sent to the scrap dealer ending up in a place where it is dunked in an acid bath or smashed up. Components that are considered valuable, such as circuit boards which contain metals that can be recovered and sold, are put through the fiery ordeal of a blow torch. The air gets polluted and the subsequent left-overs which are not of any value are thrown into local water bodies or dumped at local municipal garbage sites.
So what's the solution to dealing with e-waste in a manner that is safe to both humans and the environment? Answer: Get the e-waste recycled.
Government of India e-waste management regulations Before you learn about recycling, you should be aware that in 2016 the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India issued fresh directives for management of e-waste (refer: http://www.moef.gov.in/sites/default/files/EWM%20Rules%202016%20english%2023.03.2016.pdf). The government guidelines lay down clear responsibilities for not just the manufacturer and the producer of electrical and electronic equipment, but also for those who refurbish, dismantle and recycle such equipment as well as for collection centres and dealers [refer: http://meity.gov.in/esdm/e-waste]
Recycling e-waste The attempt by scrap dealers to recycle e-waste is not the solution, as they do not have the proper facilities to do so. What's more, the people employed to rip out wires from computers, dislodge circuit boards, take apart smart phones, etc are also prone to serious respiratory problems and other health issues.
When recycling is done in the right way, though, e-waste becomes useful waste. For example, from a smartphone, copper, silver, even gold and palladium can be recovered and recycled. Recycling a million laptops, as stated by Noida-based recycling service Attero (contact details below), can save energy which can provide power to over three thousand homes in a single year.
The process of recycling e-waste involves various stages, namely:
First, the e-waste is picked up directly from a company's office, a residential home, a hospital, etc. or from designated pick up points.
Next, the e-waste is segregated in a systematic manner to determine if there is any which can be repaired or re-marketed. Reusable parts and accessories are also salvaged. Some firms donate re-usuable e-waste for charitable purposes, such as donating computers that are not quite dead to a rural school.
Further segregation is done based on the material, such as a glass or metal component, a rubber cable, etc The metals will also be separated from plastic.
The e-waste thus segregated is then shredded into smaller pieces and copper, aluminium etc are recovered from it.
Smaller pieces of recycled e-waste can then be used to create products such as boxes, tiles, even roofing.
Finally, those materials which are considered non-recyclable and toxic are properly disposed of in a safe manner.
Where to dispose of e-waste In many major cities, people have come together to launch projects for removal of non-biodegradable waste, including e-waste. There are NGOs which provide collection points for e-waste and private firms authorized by their State to dispose of e-waste in a safe way.
Here's a list of some companies in India for disposal of household and office e-waste:
Main office: #21, Ground Floor, MCHS Colony, 5th C Cross, 16th Main,BTM Layout 2nd Stage, Bangalore – 560076
Ph: +91 080 4168 9889 // Email: email@example.com
Other than at the above main office where you can drop off e-waste from Monday to Friday between 9.30 am to 6.30 pm and on Saturdays between 9.30 am-4.30 pm, additional drop-off points are:
4 pm-7 pm.
Main office: No. B-41/1,3rd Stage, Peenya Industrial Estate, Bengaluru – 560 058.
Ph : +91 80 28360902 / 32906684 // Fax : +91 80 28363257
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
For material pick up call Toll free No.: 1800 425 35287
Contact Person: Mr. Dinesh Kumar, Ph: 07875262623 / Email: email@example.com
Contact Person: Mr. Deepak Nangia, Ph: 0124-6465124 / 09971773246 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Person: Mr. Somanath Ganguly, Ph: 08961761298 / Email: email@example.com
In Mumbai Ecoreco is registered by the Central Pollution Control Board and authorised by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.
Main office: Unit No.422, 4th Floor, The Summit Business Bay, Opp. Cine Max Theater, near WEH Metro Station, Andheri - Kurla Road, Andheri (East), Mumbai – 400093.
Ph: +91 22 40052951, 52, 53
Also at: Eco House, S. No. 22, H. No.6 & 7, Bhoipada, Near Range Office, Sativali, Vasai (East), Thane - 401 208.
In New Delhi
Corporate office: H-59 Sector 63, Noida, UP 201301.
Ph: +91-120-4087100 / Fax: +91-120-4087101. Toll free: 1800 - 419 – 3283
Address: Basement 8, Central Road, Bhogal, Jangpura, New Delhi – 110014.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list of firms which dispose of e-waste. You can find a number of legitimate ones on the Net, but do review them before making a final call on which company's service to use. Note that some pay for picking up large amounts of e-waste, others don't; some may have a fee for pick-up, others may not.
Important points to note: When checking out a company for e-waste recycling, please confirm it has the proper certification and authorization to ensure that it is adhering to laws and regulations, including for safety & health management. The company should also be having legitimate registered facilities for disposing off any effluents in a responsible manner that does not harm the environment. Most important, ensure that the data stored in any electronic items which you give to them is destroyed thoroughly to ensure security (most e-waste management companies provide this service.)
It is hoped that this article is any eye-opener to the availability of resources for better e-waste management!
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.
Follow Vandana or read 1154 articles authored by Vandana