E-waste recycling is the process of reclaim and reprocessing of outdated electronic equipments. E-waste refers to electronic waste. Some of the common E-wastes include: home appliances such as televisions, air conditioners, electric cookers and heaters, air condoners, fans, DVDs, Radios and microwaves among others; information technology equipments such as computers, mobile phones, laptops, batteries, circuit boards, hard disks, and monitors among others; and other electronic utilities such as leisure, lighting, and sporting equipments. Recycling of e-waste is a rising trend and was initiated to protect human and environmental health mainly due to the general environmental pollution impacts of e-waste.
Recycling of e-waste means to lessen the needs for raw materials so that we save all the energy that would have been consumed in the process of making it.
In this paper we will discuss about reasons of recycling, methods of recycling, E-cycle Components which are reused, its regulations in different states, & current efforts in the field of E-waste recycling.
Keywords: Gadgets, Recycling, Dumping
Technology has become an indispensable part of lives. We love to promote ourselves; whether it’s the latest Smartphone or a laptop tablet, we will not relax in peace until we acquire the best possible gadgets offered in the market. No suspicion our lives have become a lot easier, but do you wonder what happens to your old gadgets that are usually dumped at the nearby garbage pile? How are they recycled or disposed off? Well, they finally become electronic waste or E-waste or E-scrap.
A report by the Comptroller ; Auditor General found that 4 lakh tons of electronic waste is generated in India every year. The central pollution control board estimates that around 0.5 metric tons of E-waste is generated every day. The top ten e-waste producing states of India are- Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh ; Punjab. At present India ; China have become the largest global dumpsters of E-waste due to low processing costs ; unorganized working conditions.
Recycling of Electronic waste or Electronic-cycling is a proposal by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which refers to reuse and general collection of used electronics. Generically, the term refers to the process of collecting, brokering, disassembling, repairing and recycling the components or metals contained in used or discarded electronic equipment, otherwise known as electronic waste (e-waste). Recycling of E-Waste means to recycle or reuse the items that are not limited to: televisions, computers, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, telephones and cellular phones, and VCRs and DVDs just about whatever thing that has a cord, light or takes some sort of battery.
Reasons for Recycling of E-waste
1. Recycling of electronics is easier than ever
Recycling or repairing of any electronic is an easiest way to change their state from waste into working mode. There are a lot of ways to recycle your electronics. First, you can find a certified e-cycler, who will destroy your sensitive data and know how to properly recycle the materials of the device so they do not become toxic landfill waste. Many manufacturers take-back your old device when you turn it in for a new one.
2. It is unsafe not to recycle electronics
Between the lead, arsenic and mercury in electronic devices, it’s hazardous not to go through a respected electronics recycler. Immaturely disposed of devices can end up in landfills and leak dangerous chemicals into water supplies. This is in particular possible when electronics end up getting shipped to other countries that don’t have the means to dispose of e-waste properly.
3. Data can be destroyed securely
Highly regarded e-waste recyclers are also experts in destroying confidential data securely. They’ll usually either strip magnetic fields off a device, overwrite data or physically destroy a device so that data can never be regained.
4. We already have a large amount e-waste
5. Used devices have tons of precious metals
According to EPA, every 1 million cell phones contains 75 pounds of gold, along with 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver and 33 pounds of palladium. All of that can be melted down and reused in new devices or other manufacturing uses. That’s much better than letting valuable metals sit in a landfill.
6. Somebody else needs your device
As mentioned above, when you turn in your handy devices they are usually routed to the reuse market. That means they could be going to deprived families, schools that need the devices or even to soldiers abroad. By recycling your device, you’re saving your planet.
7. Dumping of device can be illegal
Yes, in some places dumping your device is actually a crime. Many cities consider it against the law to just throw old computers into your trash bin, and California has been cracking down on companies that illegally dump e-waste. The hazards are just too great, when all the potential toxins are taken into account, so dumping e-waste is becoming more and more illegal.
8. Recycling could save your money
9. Recycling means less production waste
E-cycle components re-use
1. Plastic. All the plastic materials retrieved are sent to recyclers who use them to manufacture items such as fence posts, plastic sleepers, plastic trays, vineyard stakes, and equipment holders or insulators among other plastic products.
2. Metal. Scrap metals materials retrieved are sent to recyclers to manufacture new steel and other metallic materials.
3. Glass. Glass is retrieved from the Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) mostly found in televisions and computer monitors. To achieve the best environmentally friendly glass extraction, the best to use a specialized CRT recycling.
4. Mercury: Mercury containing devices are sent to mercury recycling facilities that uses a specialized technology for elimination for use in dental amalgams & metric instruments, & for fluorescent lighting.
5. Printed Circuit Boards: Circuit boards are sent to specialized & recognized companies where they are smelted to recover non-renewable resources such as silver, tin, gold, platinum & other valuable metals.
6. Hard Drive: Hard drives are shredded in whole & processed into aluminum ingots for use in automotive industry.
7. Ink and Toner Cartridges: Ink and toner cartridges are taken back to respective manufacturing industries for recycling. They are remanufactured while those that can’t are separated into metal ; plastic for re-use as raw materials.
8. Batteries: Batteries are taken to specialized recyclers where they are hulled to take out plastic. The metals are smelted is specialized conditions to recover nickel, steel, cadmium that are re-used for new battery production ; fabrication of stainless steel.
A.) User recycling:
This method consists of vending, donating computers straight to organizations in need, sending devices directly back to their original manufacturers, or getting components to a convenient recycler.
This method consist of recovering valuable metals like copper, aluminum, lead, gold, ; palladium from computers, television ; much more.
Online sale is an option for consumers ready to resell their used equipments. Online classified ads can be similarly risky due to fake scams and uncertainty.
D.)Take back or Exchange method:
When researching computer companies before a computer purchase, consumers can find out if they propose recycling services. Most major computer manufacturers present some form of recycling or recollecting the obsolete computers. Most Manufacturers often propose a free alternate service when purchasing a new PC. E.g. Dell ; Apple Company take back old products when one buys a new one.
E.)Contributions / nonprofits method:
With the constant mounting costs due to price rises, many families or schools do not have the enough funds available for computers to be utilized along with education standards. Families also impacted by disaster suffer as well due to the financial impact of the situation they have incurred. Many nonprofit organizations, can be found locally as well as globally around the world are very active in collecting and refurbishing computers and laptops to help the non-profit and charitable sectors and schools.
Regulations in different states
In Switzerland, the first electronic waste recycling system was implemented in 1991, beginning with collection of old refrigerators; over the years, all other electric and electronic devices were gradually added to the system.
In Japan, sellers and manufacturers of certain electronics (such as televisions and air conditioners) are required to recycle them. This is covered by at least two legislations: the Law for the Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources (LPUR); and, the Law for the Recycling of Specified Kinds of Home Appliances (LRHA). The former, which was passed in 2001, encouraged manufacturers to voluntarily help recycle goods while the LRHA, which was adopted in 2009, required more recycling efforts by both consumers and manufacturers of home appliances.
According to a report by UNEP titled, “Recycling – from E-Waste to Resources,” the amount of e-waste being produced – including mobile phones and computers – could rise by as much as 500 percent over the next decade in some countries, such as India.
Thanks to the National Environmental Management Act 1998 and National Environmental Management Waste Act 2008, any person in any position causing harm to the environment and failing to comply with the Waste Act could be fined R10 Million or put into jail or receive both penalties for their transgressions.
E-waste recycling companies in India
Some of the well known e-waste recycling companies are listed below:
• Attero, a Roorkee-based e-waste management company, handles almost 500 tonnes of e-waste per month. Founded by Rohan and Nitin Gupta in 2007, the company currently provides its service to nearly 100 cities across 22 states in the country.
• Bangalore-based E-Parisaraa Pvt Ltd is India’s first government authorized electronic waste recycle company. Started in 2005, it extracts waste such as gold and silver and converts them into industrial raw materials.
• Delhi-based karma Recycling has launched an e-portal to offer a simple online electronics trade-in service, which makes it easy for common herd to resell or recycle their used electronic devices.
while the government needs to take steps in regulating laws, we citizens have to do our part in sending our old electronic goods for recycling. Companies like Nokia have ensured their devices be returned after usage for their recycle. Such original steps should be taken by the manufacturing companies, which is not only favorable to the environment but also profitable to the company as well.
E-waste recycling is a serious issue to be worked upon. Organizations like A2Z Group have stepped in to own up the responsibility to collect and recycle e-waste at various locations in India.