Management of E-WASTE in
Parth Mittal-FT (1304053)
o What is E-Waste?
o Composition of E-Waste.
o Sources of E-waste.
Environmental impacts of E-Waste.
E-Waste in India.
Management of E-Wastes.
Recovery, Recycle and Reuse.
o Consumer awareness efforts
o Govt. Polices.
In the 20th Century, the information and
enormous changes in the way we organize our
lives, our economies, industries and institutions.
These spectacular developments in modern
times have undoubtedly enhanced the quality of
our lives. At the same time, these have led to
manifold problems including the problem of
massive amount of hazardous waste and other
wastes generated from electric products.
What is E-Waste?
It stands for electronic waste. All used
electronics which are destined for reuse, resale,
recycling or disposal. It comprises a whole
range of electrical and electronic items which
are used for a long time and then destined for
reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal.
Composition of E-Waste.
E-waste consists of all waste from electronic
and electrical appliances which have reached
their end-of-life period or are no longer fit for
their original intended use and are destined
for recovery, recycling or disposal.
The composition of e-waste is diverse and falls
categories. Broadly, it consists of ferrous and
non-ferrous metals, plastics, glass, wood and
plywood, printed circuit boards, concrete,
ceramics, rubber and other items. Iron and
steel constitute about 50% of the waste,
followed by plastics (21%), non-ferrous metals
(13%) and other constituents. Non-ferrous
metals consist of metals like copper,
aluminum and precious metals like silver,
gold, platinum, palladium and so on. The
presence of elements like lead, mercury,
chromium, and flame retardants beyond
threshold quantities make e-waste hazardous
Sources of E-waste.
The major part of E-Waste consists of:
IT & Telecom Equipments: Mobile phones,
printers, keyboards, CPUs, compact discs,
headphones, batteries etc.
remotes, air conditioners, refrigerators, washing
Other than above mentioned items, Vehicles,
Electrical or Electronic Tools, toys and sports
equipment, consumer & lightening equipments
and medical devices also contribute to the EWastes.
Environmental impacts of E-Waste :
Electronic wastes cause environmental damage
due to the use of toxic materials.
It affects the kidneys and the reproductive
system. Mechanical breaking of CRTs and
removing solder from microchips release
lead as powder and fumes.
Plastics Found in circuit boards, cabinets and
cables, It can harm immune systems.
Beryllium Found in switch boards and printed circuit
boards and can cause lung diseases.
Mercury Affects the central nervous system, kidneys
and immune system. It is released while
breaking and burning of circuit boards and
Cadmium Long-term exposure causes Itai-itai disease,
which causes severe pain in the joints and
spine. It affects the kidneys and softens
bones. Cadmium is released into the
environment as powder while crushing and
milling of plastics, CRTs and circuit boards.
Chromium Used to protect metal housings and
in a computer from corrosion. Inhaling
hexavalent chromium or chromium 6 can
damage liver and kidneys and cause
bronchial maladies including asthmatic
bronchitis and lung cancer.
Sulphuric and hydrochloric acids are used
to separate metals from circuit boards.
Fumes contain chlorine and sulphur
dioxide, which cause respiratory problems.
They are corrosive to the eye and skin.
E-Waste in India.
All over the world, the quantity of electrical and
electronic waste generated each year, especially
computers and televisions, has assumed
alarming proportions. In 2006, the International
Association of Electronics Recyclers (IAER)
projected that 3 billion electronic and electrical
appliances would become e-waste by 2010. That
would tantamount to an average e-waste
generation rate of 400 million units a year till
Generation Of E-Wastes.
There are 10 States that contribute to 70 % of
the total e-waste generated in the country, while
65 cities generate more than 60 % of the total ewaste in India. Among the 10 largest e-waste
generating States, Maharashtra ranks first
followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar
Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka,
Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. Among
the top ten cities generating e-waste, Mumbai
ranks first followed by Delhi, Bengaluru,
Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad,
Pune, Surat and Nagpur.
Management Of E-Wastes.
In industries management of e-waste should
begin at the point of generation. Waste
minimization in industries involves adopting :
Recovery, Recycle and Reuse.
Consumer awareness efforts.
Proper control over the materials used in the
manufacturing process is an important way to
reduce waste generation . By reducing both the
quantity of hazardous materials used in the
process and the amount of excess raw materials
in stock, the quantity of waste generated can be
reduced. This can be done in two ways :
In the approval process all production materials
are evaluated to examine if they contain
hazardous constituents and whether alternative
non-hazardous materials are available.
Purchase procedures must be implemented
which ensure that materials are ordered only on
an as-needed basis and that only the amount
needed for a specific period of time is ordered.
Changes can be made in the production process,
which will reduce waste generation. This
reduction can be accomplished by changing the
materials used to make the product or by the
more efficient use of input materials in the
production process or both. Potential waste
minimization techniques can be broken down
into two categories:
Improved operating and maintenance
operation and maintenance of process
equipment can result in significant waste
reduction. An “employee-training program”
is a key element of any waste reduction
program. Training should include correct
operating and handling procedures, proper
equipment use, recommended maintenance
and inspection schedules, correct process
management of waste materials.
ii) Material change : Hazardous materials
used in either a product formulation or a
production process may be replaced with a
less hazardous or non-hazardous material.
Volume reduction includes those techniques that
remove the hazardous portion of a waste from a
non-hazardous portion. These techniques are
usually to reduce the volume, and thus the cost
of disposing of a waste material. The techniques
that can be used to reduce waste-stream volume
can be divided into 2 general categories: source
Segregation of wastes is in many cases a simple
and economical technique for waste reduction.
Wastes containing different types of metals can
be treated separately so that the metal value in
the sludge can be recovered. Concentration of a
waste stream may increase the likelihood that
the material can be recycled or reused. Methods
include gravity and vacuum filtration, ultra
filtration, reverse osmosis, freeze vaporization
For e.g. an electronic component manufacturer
can use compaction equipments to reduce
volume of waste cathode ray-tube.
Recovery, Recycle & Reuse
This technique could eliminate waste disposal
costs, reduce raw material costs and provide
income from a salable waste. Waste can be
recovered on-site, or at an off-site recovery
facility, or through inter industry exchange. A
number of physical and chemical techniques are
available to reclaim a waste material such as
reverse osmosis, electrolysis, condensation,
electrolytic recovery, filtration, centrifugation
Computer monitors are typically packed into
low stacks on wooden pallets for recycling and
then shrink-wrapped. Audio-visual components,
televisions, VCRs, stereo
phones, other handheld devices, and computer
components contain valuable elements like
lead, copper, and gold.
One of the major challenges is recycling the
printed circuit boards from the electronic
wastes. The circuit boards contain such
precious metals as gold, silver, platinum, etc.
One way e-waste is processed is by melting
circuit boards, burning cable sheathing to
recover copper wire and open- pit acid leaching
for separating metals of value. Conventional
method employed is mechanical shredding and
separation but the recycling efficiency is low.
Consumer Awareness Efforts
Best Buy: Best Buy accepts electronic items for
recycling, even if they were not purchased at
Staples: Staples also accepts electronic items
for recycling at no additional cost. They also
accept ink and printer toner cartridges.
campaign that seeks to increase awareness of
the dangers of e-waste and to encourage
recycling. Partners in the effort include
Earth911.com, ECOInternational.com, and
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Electronics TakeBack Coalition : is a
campaign aimed at protecting human health
and limiting environmental effects where
electronics are being produced, used, and
discarded. “Take Back My TV” is a project of
ETBC and grades television manufacturers to
find out which are responsible and which are
The World Reuse, Repair, and Recycling
Association (wr3a.org) : is an organization
dedicated to improving the quality of exported
electronics, encouraging better recycling
standards in importing countries, and
improving practices through "Fair Trade"
E-Cycling Central :
is a website from the
Electronic Industry Alliance which allows you
to search for electronic recycling programs in
your state. It lists different recyclers by state
to find reuse, recycle, or find donation
programs across the country.
StEP : ( Solving the E-Waste Problem ) : an
initiative founded by various UN organizations
to develop strategies to solve the e-waste
problem, follows its activities and programs.
The government has taken the following
steps/actions for management of e-wastes :
Several Workshops on Electronic Waste
Management was organized by the Central
collaboration with Toxics Link, CII etc.
Action has been initiated by CPCB for rapid
assessment of the E-Waste generated in
major cities of the country.
A National Working Group has been
constituted for formulating a strategy for EWaste management.
"Environmental Management for Information
Technology Industry in India" has been
published and circulated widely by the
Department of Information Technology (DIT),
Ministry of Communication and Information
Demonstration projects has also been set up
by the DIT at the Indian Telephone
Industries for recovery of copper from
Printed Circuit Boards.
As we saw that the management of e-waste is
not an easy task. It requires a lot of time and
money to manage such huge amount of e-waste.
So there must be some responsibilities of the
Govt as well as industries and the citizens itself
to solve out the problem.
Solid waste management, which is already a
mammoth task in India, is becoming more
complicated by the invasion of e-waste,
particularly computer waste. There exists an
urgent need for a detailed assessment of the
disposal practices, environmental impacts etc.
Institutional infrastructures, including ewaste collection, transportation, treatment,
storage, recovery and disposal, need to be
established, at national and/or regional levels
for the environmentally sound management of
e-wastes. Establishment of e-waste collection,
exchange and recycling centers should be
encouraged in partnership with private
entrepreneurs and manufacturers. An effective
take-back program providing incentives for
producers to design products that are less
wasteful, contain fewer toxic components, and
are easier to disassemble, reuse, and recycle
may help in reducing the wastes so that we
can make our earth a beautiful planet again !