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Popular E-waste disposal methods in India

E-Waste

Popular E-waste disposal methods in India

07 Sep, 2023
E-waste disposal methods in India

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.

Definition: What constitutes an E-Waste?

“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.

Roles and Responsibilities w.r.t E-waste disposal

The roles and responsibilities related to E-waste disposal under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) are outlined as follows:

  1. Waste Collection and Ensuring Proper E-waste Disposal Methods: Producers are responsible for collecting and segregating waste from items that share the same electrical and electronic equipment code, ensuring a systematic approach to waste management.
  2. Framework Establishment: Producers are responsible for establishing a framework for the proper channelling of e-waste collected from distributors, authorised service centres, and waste derived from “end-of-life” products. This framework ensures a structured approach to waste handling.
  3. Hazardous Material Pre-treatment: Producers are obligated to pre-treat hazardous substances, such as mercury and lead, and bear responsibility for their safe disposal in authorised treatment, storage, and disposal facilities. This step is crucial for environmental protection.
  4. E-waste Collection: Producers must actively engage in the collection of E-waste, including electrical and electronic equipment previously introduced to the market. This collection can occur through various means, including dealers, collection centres, Producers’ Responsibility Organizations, buy-back programs, exchange schemes, or deposit-refund systems, all as part of the Extended Producers Responsibility plan.

Recovery and Reuse of E-Waste

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.

Common E-waste disposal methods

E-waste disposal methods include several approaches, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some common methods:

  1. Landfilling: Landfilling is the most widespread method for electronic waste disposal. It involves excavating trenches or pits and burying e-waste within them. Layers of earth are used to cover and seal the pits. However, this method has environmental concerns due to the potential leaching of hazardous substances into the soil and groundwater.
  2. Incineration: Incineration is a controlled combustion process in which e-waste is burned in a specially designed incinerator unit at high temperatures, ranging from 900 to 10,000 degrees Celsius. This process helps convert hazardous substances within the e-waste into less hazardous compounds. While incineration can reduce the volume of waste,, it can also release pollutants into the air if not properly performed.
  3. Recycling: Recycling falls among the most sustainable E-waste disposal methods, which involves dismantling electronic waste to recover valuable materials and safely manage hazardous components. This process includes the recycling of printed circuit boards, plastics, cathode-ray tubes (CRTs), non-ferrous metals, mobile phones, hard drives, fax machines, wires, and memory chips. Proper recycling reduces the presence of heavy metals and hazardous heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, beryllium, and lead, minimising the risks to human and animal health and the environment.

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.

Sustainability and E-waste disposal

Adopting sustainable practices of E-waste disposal methods is crucial for mitigating its environmental and health impacts. Here are some sustainable practices to consider:

  1. Support Brands with EPR Policies: Choose to buy electronics from brands that have implemented Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policies. These brands are committed to taking responsibility for properly disposing and recycling their products.
  2. Practice the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle:
    • Reduce: Minimise e-waste generation by only purchasing the electronics you genuinely need and by extending the lifespan of your devices through proper maintenance.
    • Reuse: Whenever possible, consider reusing electronic devices or donating them to organisations that can make use of them.
    • Recycle: Ensure you recycle e-waste properly through authorised channels to recover valuable materials and minimise environmental impact.
  3. Seek Authorised Recyclers and Collection Centers: Look for certified e-waste recyclers or official collection centres. These organisations follow environmentally responsible practices in handling and disposing of e-waste.
  4. Utilise Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs): PROs are entities designated to manage and oversee the recycling and disposal of e-waste on behalf of manufacturers. Collaborate with PROs to ensure your e-waste is managed responsibly.
  5. Government-Approved Dismantlers: If possible, give your e-waste to government-approved dismantlers who adhere to regulations and environmentally sound practices.
  6. Community-Level Initiatives: Encourage and participate in community-level e-waste collection drives. Organise events or partner with local organisations to raise awareness and promote responsible e-waste disposal within your community.

What is the Process for E-waste Recycling Authorisation?

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:

Filing an Application:

  • The recycler must begin by registering on the official website of the State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee.
  • Once registered, the recycler can proceed to complete the Application for E-Waste Recycling Authorisation, providing all necessary details. This typically includes information about the authorised personnel and details related to the Chief Technical Officer (CTO).

Documents Required

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:

  1. Aadhaar Card of the recycler.
  2. PAN Card (Permanent Account Number) of the recycler.
  3. GST Certificate (Goods and Services Tax).
  4. Rent agreement, lease agreement, or proof of ownership of the site where the recycling plant will operate.
  5. Electricity Bill as proof of the plant’s location.

For a Private Limited or Public Limited Company:

  1. Rent agreement, lease agreement, or proof of ownership of the site where the recycling plant will operate.
  2. Electricity Bill as proof of the plant’s location.
  3. Aadhaar Card of the recycler.
  4. PAN Card of the recycler.
  5. GST Certificate (Goods and Services Tax).
  6. Certificate of Incorporation (CIN) for the company.
  7. Memorandum of Association (MOA) of the company.
  8. Company PAN Card.
  9. Board Declaration for Authorized Signatory.

Submitting/Reviewing Application

  • After filling the application along with the required documents, it is submitted through the online portal.
  • The District Environmental Engineer (DEE)[1] reviews the application for verification and authentication.
  • If there are any errors or omissions in the application or supporting documents, it is sent back to the recycler for rectification.

Grant of License

  • Once the application is deemed complete and all submitted documents are verified, the E-Waste Recycling Authorisation is granted to the recycler.

Central Pollution Control Board Evaluation

  • The Central Pollution Control Board evaluates the applications received for E-Waste Recycling Authorisation.
  • They are required to grant Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)-Authorisation within 120 days of receiving a complete application.

Post-Compliance in case of E-Waste Disposal

  • After receiving E-Waste Recycling Authorisation, recyclers are obligated to adhere to certain conditions, which may include:
    • Providing a copy of the destruction certificate granted to them.
    • Filling out Form-6, which pertains to the E-Waste Manifest.
    • Completing Form-2, which involves maintaining records of E-Waste handled, dismantled, and recycled.
    • Obtaining separate authorisation for the disposal of hazardous and other wastes under the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016.
    • Submitting annual returns in Form-3 to the respective State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee.

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.

Conclusion

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.

FAQs

Which is the best disposal method for e-waste?

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.

What are the best methods to dispose of e-waste?

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.

What is the best method of waste disposal? Why?

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.

What is the safest method of waste disposal?

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.

What are the methods of e-waste disposal?

Landfilling, acid bath, incineration, recycling, and reuse represent a range of e-waste management and disposal methods.

What is the method of waste disposal?

Waste disposal methods encompass source reduction, reuse, animal feeding, recycling, composting, fermentation, landfills, incineration, and land application.

What are the four types of waste?

The four types of waste are Industrial Waste, Commercial Waste, Domestic Waste, and Agricultural Waste.

What is meant by the disposal of e-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.

How can the government reduce e-waste in India?

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.

What are the steps taken by the government of India to control e-waste?

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

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