What is e-waste?Electronic waste, popularlyknown as „e-waste‟ can bedefined as electronicequipments /productsconnected with power plug,batteries which havebecome obsolete due to:advancement in technologychanges in fashion, styleand status, nearing the endof their useful life.
ClassificationE-waste encompasses evergrowing range of obsoleteelectronic devices such ascomputers, servers, mainframes, monitors, TVs &display devices,telecommunication devicessuch as cellular phones &pagers, calculators, audio andvideo devices, printers,scanners, copiers and faxmachines besides refrigerators,air conditioners, washingmachines, and microwaveovens.
e-waste also covers recordingdevices such as DVDs, CDs,floppies, tapes, printingcartridges, military electronicwaste, automobile catalyticconverters, electroniccomponents such as chips,processors, mother boards,printed circuit boards,industrial electronics such assensors, alarms, sirens,security devices, automobileelectronic devices
WHY IS E-WASTEGROWING ?Industrial revolution followedby the advances in informationtechnology during the lastcentury has radically changedpeoples lifestyle. Although thisdevelopment has helped thehuman race, mismanagementhas led to new problems ofcontamination and pollution.The technical prowess acquiredduring the last century hasposed a new challenge in themanagement of wastes.
VOLUME OF E-WASTEAn estimated 50 million tons ofE-waste are produced eachyear[The tUSA discards 30million computers each year and100 million phones are disposedof in Europe each year. TheEnvironmental ProtectionAgency estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled, therest of these electronics godirectly into landfills andincinerators. “According to areport by UNEP titled,"Recycling - from E-Waste toResources,"
e-Waste in IndiaCurrently, an estimated 380,000 tonnes ofe-waste is generated annually in India,of which 19,000 tonnes are recycled,”said MAIT Executive Director VinnieMehta. India faces a mounting challengeto dispose of an estimated 420,000 tonnesof electronic waste a year that it generatesdomestically and imports from abroad, agreen lobby group said on October 28,2009. Pollution control officials, whodeclined to give figures for the quantity ofe-waste, said India had only six regularrecycling units with an annual capacity of27,000 tonnes.India..
"Computers and electronic equipmentswhich have completed their life cycleand are obsolete in the West have startedarriving in India and the entire SouthAsian market in huge quantities," saysRavi Agarwal director of Toxics Link, anot-for-profit environmental group.These "cheap" machines are almosttotally made out of phased-out parts likeIntel central processing units, memorychips, hard disk drives, and others,extracted from cheap and obsoletepersonal computers and electronicequipment that are no longer in use onthe other side of the Pacific and theAtlantic are being dumped in India.
the amount of e-waste beingproduced - including mobile phonesand computers - could rise by asmuch as 500 percent over the nextdecade in some countries, such asIndia. The United States is the worldleader in producing electronic waste,tossing away about 3 million tonseach year. China already producesabout 2.3 million tons (2010estimate) domestically, second onlyto the United States. And, despitehaving banned e-waste imports,China remains a major e-wastedumping ground for developedcountries.[
EFFECTS ON ENVIRONMENTAND HUMAN HEALTHDisposal of e-wastes is a particularproblem faced in many regionsacross the globe. Computer wastesthat are landfilled eventually pollutethe groundwater. Acids and sludgeobtained from melting computerchips, if disposed on the groundcauses acidification of soil. Forexample, Guiyu, Hong Kong athriving area of illegal e-wasterecycling is facing acute watershortages due to the contaminationof water resources.
Source of e-wastes Constituent Health effects Damage to central andSolder in printed peripheral nervous systems,circuit boards, blood systems and kidneyglass panels and Lead (PB) damage.gaskets in Affects brain developmentcomputer monitors of children. Toxic irreversible effects on human health.Chip resistors and Cadmium Accumulates in kidney andsemiconductors (CD) liver. Causes neural damage. Teratogenic.0
Source of e-Waste Constituents Health Effects Chronic damage to theRelays and brain. Mercuryswitches, printed Respiratory and skin (Hg)circuit boards disorders due to bioaccumulation in fishes.Corrosionprotection ofuntreated and Hexavalent Asthmatic bronchitis.galvanized steel chromium DNA damage.plates, decorator or (Cr) VIhardner for steelhousings
Source of e- Constituent Health effects waste Burning produces dioxin. It causesCabling and Plastics Reproductive andcomputer including developmental problems;housing PVC Immune system damage; Interfere with regulatory hormonesPlastic housing Brominatedof electronic flame Disrupts endocrineequipments and retardants system functionscircuit boards. (BFR)
Source of e-waste Constituent Health effects Short term exposure causes:Front panel of Muscle weakness; Barium (Ba)CRTs Damage to heart, liver and spleen. Carcinogenic (lung cancer) Inhalation of fumes and dust. BerylliumMotherboard Causes chronic beryllium (Be) disease or beryllicosis. Skin diseases such as warts.
Generally Non-hazardousTin: solder, coatings oncomponent leads.Copper: copperwire, printed circuitboard tracks, componentleads.Aluminium: nearly allelectronic goods using morethan a few watts ofpower electrolyticcapacitors.Iron: steel chassis, cases,and fixings.
PROCESSING TECHNIQUEIn developed countries,electronic waste processingusually first involves dismantlingthe equipment into various parts(metal frames, power supplies,circuit boards, plastics), often byhand, but increasingly byautomated shredding equipment.Magnets, eddy currents, andtrommel screens are employed toseparate glass, plastic,and ferrous and nonferrousmetals, which can then be furtherseparated at a smelter.
Leaded glass from CRTs is reusedin car batteries, ammunition, andlead wheel weights or sold tofoundries as a fluxing agent inprocessing raw lead ore. Copper,gold, palladium, silver and tin arevaluable metals soldto smelters for recycling.Hazardous smoke and gases arecaptured, contained and treatedAn ideal electronic wasterecycling plant combinesdismantling for componentrecovery with increased cost-effective processing of bulkelectronic waste.
BASEL CONVENTION The fundamental aims of the Basel Convention are thecontrol and reduction of transboundary movements ofhazardous and other wastes including the prevention andminimization of their generation, the environmentallysound management of such wastes and the activepromotion of the transfer and use of technologies. The Draft requires action at all levels of society:training, information, communication, methodologicaltools, capacity building with financial support, transfer ofknow-how, knowledge and sound, proven cleanertechnologies and processes to assist in the concreteimplementation of the Basel Declaration.
Inventory managementProper control over the materialsused in the manufacturing processis an important way to reducewaste generation (Freeman, 1989).By reducing both the quantity ofhazardous materials used in theprocess and the amount of excessraw materials in stock, the quantityof waste generated can be reduced.This can be done in two ways i.e.establishing material-purchasereview and control procedures andinventory tracking system.
Developing reviewprocedures for all materialpurchased is the first step inestablishing an inventorymanagement program.Procedures should requirethat all materials beapproved prior to purchase.In the approval process allproduction materials areevaluated to examine if theycontain hazardousconstituents and whetheralternative non-hazardousmaterials are available.
Another inventorymanagement procedure forwaste reduction is to ensurethat only the neededquantity of a material isordered. This will requirethe establishment of a strictinventory tracking system.Purchase procedures mustbe implemented whichensure that materials areordered only on an as-needed basis and that onlythe amount needed for aspecific period of time isordered.
Production-process ModificationChanges can be made in the production process, whichwill reduce waste generation. This reduction can beaccomplished by changing the materials used to make theproduct or by the more efficient use of input materials inthe production process or both. Potential wasteminimization techniques can be broken down into threecategories: i) Improved operating and maintenance procedures, ii) Material change and iii)Process-equipment modification.Improvements in the operation and maintenance of processequipment can result in significant waste reduction.
Volume ReductionVolume reduction includes thosetechniques that remove thehazardous portion of a waste from anon-hazardous portion. Thesetechniques are usually to reduce thevolume, and thus the cost ofdisposing of a waste material. Thetechniques that can be used toreduce waste-stream volume can bedivided into 2 general categories:source segregation and wastestream concentration.Segregation of wastes is in many Semi-automatic line for cuttingcases a simple and economical (hot wire) of CRT and removaltechnique for waste reduction. of coatings
Wastes containing differenttypes of metals can be treatedseparately so that the metal valuein the sludge can be recovered.Concentration of a waste streammay increase the likelihood thatthe material can be recycled orreused. Methods include gravityand vacuum filtration, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, freezevaporization etc.For example, an electroniccomponent manufacturer can usecompaction equipments toreduce volume of waste cathoderay-tube.
Recovery And Reuse:This technique could eliminate waste disposal costs,reduce raw material costs and provide income from asalable waste. Waste can be recovered on-site, or at an off-site recovery facility, or through inter industry exchange. Anumber of physical and chemical techniques are available toreclaim a waste material such as reverse osmosis,electrolysis, condensation, electrolytic recovery, filtration,centrifugation etc. For example, a printed-circuit boardmanufacturer can use electrolytic recovery to reclaimmetals from copper and tin-lead plating bath.However recycling of hazardous products has littleenvironmental benefit if it simply moves the hazards intosecondary products that eventually have to be disposed of.Unless the goal is to redesign the product to usenon-hazardous materials, such recycling is a false solution.
Sustainable product designMinimization of hazardous wastes should be at product designstage itself keeping in mind the following factors*Rethink the product design : Efforts should be made todesign a product with fewer amounts of hazardous materials. Use of renewable materials and energy: Bio-based plasticsBio-based toners, glues and inks are used more frequently.Solar computers also exist but they are currently veryexpensive.Use of non-renewable materials that are safer: Becausemany of the materials used are non-renewable, designers couldensure the product is built for re-use, repair and/orupgradeability.
THE INDIAN SCENARIOWhile the world is marveling atthe technological revolution,countries like India are facing animminent danger. E-waste ofdeveloped countries, such as theUS, dispose their wastes to Indiaand other Asian countries. Arecent investigation revealedthat much of the electronicsturned over for recycling in theUnited States ends up in Asia,where they are either disposedof or recycled with little or noregard for environmental orworker health and safety.
Major reasons for exports are cheap labour and lack ofenvironmental and occupational standards in Asia and inthis way the toxic effluent of the developed nationswould flood towards the worlds poorest nations. Themagnitude of these problems is yet to be documented.However, groups like Toxic Links India are alreadyworking on collating data that could be a step towardscontrolling this hazardous trade.It is imperative that developing countries and India inparticular wake up to the monopoly of the developedcountries and set up appropriate management measuresto prevent the hazards and mishaps due tomismanagement of e-wastes.
Responsibilities of the Government Governments should enforce strict regulations andheavy fines levied on industries, which do notpractice waste prevention and recovery in theproduction facilities. Polluter pays principle and extended producerresponsibility should be adopted. Governments should encourage and supportNGOs and other organizations to involve actively insolving the nations e-waste problems. Governments should explore opportunities topartner with manufacturers and retailers to providerecycling services.
Governments should set up regulatory agencies ineach district, Governments should be responsible for providingan adequate system of laws, controls andadministrative procedures for hazardous wastemanagement Governments must encourage research into thedevelopment and standard of hazardous wastemanagement, environmental monitoring and theregulation of hazardous waste-disposal. Governments should enforce strict regulationsagainst dumping e-waste in the country by outsiders.
Responsibility and Role of IndustriesCompanies can and should adopt wasteminimization techniques. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers shouldundertake the responsibility of recycling/disposal oftheir own products.. Manufacturers of computer monitors, televisionsets and other electronic devices containinghazardous materials must be responsible foreducating consumers and the general publicregarding the potential threat to public health andthe environment posed by their products.
Responsibilities of the Citizen Waste prevention isperhaps more preferred toany other wastemanagement optionincluding recycling. E-wastes should never bedisposed with garbage andother household wastes. NGOs should adopt aparticipatory approach inmanagement of e-wastes.
While buying electronic productsopt for those that: are made with fewer toxic constituents use recycled content are energy efficient are designed for easy upgrading or disassembly utilize minimal packaging offer leasing or take back options have been certified by regulatory authorities. Customers should opt for upgrading their computers or other electronic items to the latest versions rather than buying new equipments.
E-waste – A global challengeIn summary one can clearlygrasp and understand the e-waste problem is of globalconcern because of the natureof production and disposal ofwaste in a globalized world.Although it is difficult toquantify global e-wasteamounts, we do know thatlarge amounts are ending upin places where processingoccurs at a very rudimentarylevel
This raises concerns aboutresource efficiency and also theimmediate concerns of the dangersto humans and the environment.There is a long and oftencomplicated chain of events in thee-waste problem, beginning froman idea that someone has for a newproduct and then its production,ending in its purchase andeventual disposal by the end user.By engaging with variousstakeholders and relevant scientificwisdom within this chain ofevents, we are on the way to Solvethe E-waste Problem (StEP).