E-waste is a term used to cover almost all types of electrical and electronicequipment (EEE) that has or could enter the waste stream. Although e-waste is ageneral term, it can be considered to cover TVs, computers, mobile phones, homeentertainment and stereo systems,– almost any household or business item withcircuitry or electrical components with power or battery supply.
Because so much of the planet‟s e-waste is unaccounted for, it is difficult toquantify e-waste amounts. Moreover, the types of e-waste included ingovernment-initiated analyses and collection programmes vary from country tocountry. Under the current version of the WEEE Directive, the EU has 10 distinctproduct categories, whereas in North America it is typically limited to Informationand Communications Technology (ICT) products and televisions and in Japan tofour product categories including TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators and washingmachines. The deviation in categorization of e-waste notwithstanding, reasonableestimates are in the order of 40 million tones p.a., which is enough to fill a line ofdump-trucks stretching half way around the globe. A recent review of Europeanlegislation on e-waste, known as the “Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment(WEEE)” Directive (mentioned earlier), highlights that in 2005 in Europe alone,there were between 8.3 and 9.1 million tones of e-waste, tendency rising. InAustralia, with an average of 22 electrical items per household, the AustralianBureau of Statistics has estimated that in the next two years, most of the 9 millioncomputers, 5 million printers and 2 million scanners in Australian homes will bereplaced. In the US the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has reported thatthe US generated 1.9 to 2.2 million tones of e-waste in 2005, with only 12.5%collected for recycling .
1)53 million tons electronic waste generated worldwide in 2009. Only about13% was recycled.2) E-waste is growing exponentially simply because the markets in whichthese products are produced are also growing rapidly as many parts of theworld cross over to the other side of the „Digital Divide‟. For example,between 2000 and 2005, the Organization for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment (OECD) notes a 22% growth in Information andCommunications Technology (ICT) in China . Furthermore, China was the6th largest ICT market in 2006, after the US, Japan, Germany, UKand France . This is astounding when one considers that just ten years ago,under 1% of China‟s population owned a computer .3) Cadmium can bio-accumulate in the environment and is extremelytoxic to humans, in particular adversely affecting kidneys and bones .It is also one of the six toxic substances that has been banned in theEuropean Restriction on Hazardous Substances. Beyond CRT monitors,plastics, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cabling is used for printedcircuit boards, connectors, plastic covers and cables.4) Electrical goods contain a range of other toxic substances such as lead(Pb), beryllium (Be), brominated flame retardants and polychlorinatedbiphenyls(PCB) just to name a few.
THE MAJOR TYPES 10 OF E-WASTE ARE-:1) LCD T.V.‟S2) COMPPUTER MOUSE3) COMPUTER KEYBOARDS4) COMPUTER HARD-DRIVES5) COMPUTER RAM‟S6) MOTHERBOARDS AND CHIPSETS7) AIR-CONDITIONERS8) REFRIGERATORS9) WASHING MACHINES
THE MAJOR COUNTRIES PRODUCING E-WASTE ARE AS FOLLOWS-:1)UNITED STATES OF AMERICA2)JAPAN3)GERMANY4)UNITED KINGDOM5)FRANCE6)CHINA
Because of the complex composition of valuable and hazardous substances in E-Waste , specialized, often “high-tech” methods are required to process E-Wastein ways that maximize resource recovery and minimize potential harm to humansor the environment. Unfortunately, the use of the these specialized methods israre, with much of the world‟s e-waste traveling great distances, mostly todeveloping countries, where crude techniques are often used to extract preciousmaterials or recycle parts for further use. These “backyard” techniques posedangers to poorly protected workers and their local natural environment.Moreover, they are very inefficient in terms of resource recovery as recycling inthese instances usually focuses on a few valuable elements like gold and copper(with often poor recycling yields), while most other metals are discarded andinevitably lost. In this sense it can be demonstrated that resource efficiency isanother important dimension in the E-Waste discussion in addition to theecological, human security, economical and societalaspects.
In summary one can clearly grasp andunderstand the e-waste problem is of globalconcern because of the nature of productionand disposal of waste in a globalized world.Although it is difficult to quantify global e-waste amounts, we do know that largeamounts are ending up in places whereprocessing occurs at a very rudimentary level.This raises concerns about resource efficiencyand also the immediate concerns of thedangers to humans and the environment.There is a long and often complicated chain ofevents in the e-waste problem, beginning froman idea that someone has for a new productand then its production, ending in its purchaseand eventual disposal by the end user. Byengaging with various stakeholders andrelevant scientific wisdom within this chain ofevents, we are on the way to Solve the E-wasteProblem (STEP) .