E-waste, also known as electronic waste, poses a significant challenge globally, affecting countries worldwide. India is experiencing a gradual increase in e-waste, which has detrimental effects on both public health and the environment. The management of e-waste in India reveals several concerning aspects, particularly in the realm of inventory management. Unfortunately, corporate sectors often overlook critical issues associated with e-waste management, demonstrating a lack of commitment, even among larger companies. The consequences of haphazardly discarding hazardous e-waste materials are severe, resulting in life-threatening diseases, especially among rag pickers who are directly exposed to these dangerous substances. Furthermore, the unstructured recycling methods for e-waste contribute to an unhealthy imbalance in nature’s ecological equilibrium. In this write-up, we are going to talk about the E-waste disposal methods in India and the process of getting authorisation for E-Waste handling for businesses.
“E-waste,” also known as “Electronic waste,” includes a range of discarded electronic devices, including computers, entertainment gadgets like televisions, mobile phones, and radios, as well as refrigerators and office electronic equipment. This category also includes electronics that are no longer in use and are intended for resale, recycling, reuse, salvage, or disposal. Among these, some electronics remain in working or repairable condition, while others are secondary scrap materials such as steel, copper, plastic, and more, which still fall under the classification of “waste.”
One of the most challenging aspects of E-waste disposal methods within this category involves Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs). CRTs contain high concentrations of lead and phosphors, making their recycling particularly complex. Discarded CRT monitors are classified as “hazardous household waste” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Alternatively, if CRTs are not discarded and are accumulated for potential future use, they may serve for testing purposes.
The roles and responsibilities related to E-waste disposal under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) are outlined as follows:
In the current scenario, electronic waste recycling has become prevalent across developed countries. Having proper E-waste disposal methods or reusing electronics offers several benefits, including the prevention of health problems, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and creating job opportunities. Recycling involves processes like sorting, dismantling, and recovering valuable materials, and it also extends to refurbishing and reusing electronics.
The social and environmental advantages of electronics reuse are noteworthy, as it helps decrease the demand for new products, reducing the strain on resources. Nevertheless, recycling printed circuit boards from electronic waste poses a significant challenge. These circuit boards contain precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and base metals such as iron, copper, and aluminium.
A common approach to processing e-waste involves burning cable sheathing to recover copper wire, melting circuit boards and employing open-pit acid methods for separating valuable metals. Various techniques, such as electrolysis, osmosis, electrolytic recovery, condensation, filtration, centrifugation, etc., are used to reclaim waste materials effectively.
In India, several E-waste management techniques are available to address the issue of e-waste mitigation. These techniques are aimed at promoting responsible and sustainable e-waste management practices.
E-waste disposal methods include several approaches, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some common methods:
Each of these E-waste disposal methods has its role in electronic waste management. Still, recycling is increasingly seen as the most environmentally responsible option due to its potential for resource recovery and pollution prevention.
Adopting sustainable practices of E-waste disposal methods is crucial for mitigating its environmental and health impacts. Here are some sustainable practices to consider:
Obtaining E-Waste Recycling Authorisation from the State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee involves a structured process regulated by the E-Waste Management Rules, 2022 provisions. Here is an overview of the procedure:
When applying for authorisation to operate an E-Waste recycling plant with the State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee, the proponent will typically need to submit various documents. The specific requirements may vary depending on your location and the regulations in place. Here is a list of common documents that may be required:
For Individuals or Proprietorship:
For a Private Limited or Public Limited Company:
Recyclers must follow these procedures and comply with post-authorisation requirements to ensure responsible and legal E-Waste recycling practices by the E-Waste Management Act, 2022.
Effective electronic waste policies can significantly reduce the rapid accumulation of waste from both the business sector and household appliances. The key to creating an eco-friendly world lies in the implementation of robust laws at both the local and central government levels, coupled with efficient management strategies. It is through these concerted efforts that we can work towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future. Electronic waste disposal methods play a pivotal role in safeguarding our environment and public health. These methods, which include recycling, responsible consumer choices, and adherence to regulations, help reduce the harmful impact of e-waste on our planet. By embracing sustainable practices and technological advancements, we can collectively strive for a future where e-waste is managed efficiently and responsibly, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable world. It is recommended to consult experts to decide on appropriate E-waste disposal methods based on the business type and to ensure that the business fulfils all the legal requirements.
Incineration is considered a safe method to dispose of certain forms of waste. The incineration process involves the controlled combustion of garbage, which reduces waste to incombustible matter like ash and waste gas. This method can effectively manage certain types of waste and help minimise the volume of waste that ends up in landfills.
There are various waste disposal methods to maintain cleanliness. Standard methods include landfilling, waste compaction, incineration, biogas production, and vermicomposting, each with its advantages and considerations. The choice of method depends on waste type and environmental goals.
Waste should be either recycled or thermally treated. If neither option is technically feasible or economically viable, the waste can undergo appropriate treatment before being disposed of in a landfill.
The most effective and safe waste disposal methods involve segregation and composting. Once the waste is separated for reuse and recycling, the remaining waste should be disposed of carefully to prevent contamination of the air, groundwater, surface water, and land.
Landfilling, acid bath, incineration, recycling, and reuse represent a range of e-waste management and disposal methods.
Waste disposal methods encompass source reduction, reuse, animal feeding, recycling, composting, fermentation, landfills, incineration, and land application.
The four types of waste are Industrial Waste, Commercial Waste, Domestic Waste, and Agricultural Waste.
Electronic waste, commonly known as e-waste, originates from irreparable electronic devices like computers, mobile phones, and laptops. They are disposed of through methods such as incineration or burial in landfills.
The government should establish a platform that promotes consultations among diverse stakeholders, including informal sector workers, NGOs collaborating with the informal sector, third-party organisations, private entities, registered recyclers, and manufacturers.
Initiatives like Extended Producer Responsibility, Design for Environment, and the technology platform promoting the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) are steps towards motivating consumers to dispose of e-waste responsibly, fostering a circular economy.
Read our Article:Top E-Waste Management Techniques In India: An Overview