Every year, the world produces up to 50 million metric tons of e waste – waste from electronic and electrical equipment (EEE). But there’s more bad news. Less than 20 percent of this e waste gets recycled, which means over 80 percent of it impacts mankind and the environment adversely.
The percentage of e waste recycled in India is very low. This is because awareness amongst the general public is lacking. We can do a better job at recycling e waste instead of disposing it unsafely. This is where NGO’s and government initiatives will play a key role.
E waste disposal is dominated by the unorganized sector, where workers are subjected to unsafe and hazardous work conditions. Not to mention that lots of e waste from first world countries comes to third world countries for disposal. This doesn’t just pose a threat to people, but also to the environment. Nearly 70% toxic material in landfills come from e waste like Nickel, Cadmium, Tungsten, Cathode Ray Tubes, mercury and more.
Most of the non-reclaimed e waste is disposed through environmentally hazardous methods, causing air, and water and soil pollutions, due to the toxins released in these ecosystems. Additionally, the unprofessional handling of e waste is also a contributing factor to several health hazards, causing breathing difficulties and skin related ailments.
The Benefits of E Waste Management
Most people indulge in malpractices because they are not aware of the benefits of e waste management. Promoted properly, these benefits are reason enough for even the government to take steps to manage e waste better.
Here are 3 benefits of effective e waste management:
1. Better Employment
Recycling produces up to 30 jobs per facility. Not to mention that employees are insured against hazards of e waste and have access to benefits like healthcare.
An increase in the number of jobs is great news for the economy. This is an additional reason why the Indian government is giving the recycling industry a serious boost <link to our older article mentioning Prakash Javdekar
2. Recovery of Precious Metals
In 2017, 1.57 billion smartphones were sold across the world.These devices contain about 50 times more gold than ores mined in the fields. The annual production of electronics uses 320 tons of gold and over 7,500 tons of silver. That’s a whopping 21 billion dollars’ value. Conventional mining for every ounce of gold mined causes around 30 tons of waste.
Through effective e-waste management, this damage can be stymied and energy spent in mining of precious metals can be reduced.
3. Good Business Opportunities
There are few e-waste management facilities in the world at this moment. India, with its huge e-waste problem and the encouraging government policies like the Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan, is waking up to the huge market potential for e waste management as a business. People are increasingly becoming aware of the dangers that pollution poses to the environment. And they want to play their part to make the world a safer place for coming generations. That’s why they are ready to donate their obsolete EEE to certified E waste recyclers to put them to better use.
You can partner with a certified e-waste recycler to collect e-waste and ship it to their facility. This presents tiny opportunities in an otherwise-untapped market for now, but can present you with tremendous benefits in the long run.
Cerebra Integrated Technologies mobile shredders to collect and safely manage e waste. We’re partnering with NGOs and rotary clubs to promote awareness. We have initiated engagements with children in e-waste collection campaigns and drives. Our company has begun to galvanize collections vans across the country to collect EEE e-waste from collection points, resident welfare associations (RWA), corporates and service centers. This waste will then be recycled safely since the company is an authorized e-waste recycler.
E waste facilities don’t just take steps to safeguard the environment. They also benefit the economy, albeit in a small way for now. But with the boom in manufacturing and disposal of electrical and electronic devices, these facilities will become increasingly necessary in times to come.
[The author is Founder & Managing Director, Cerebra Integrated Technologies]