Article Published In Vol.2,No.3

Management of Electronic Waste: An Integrated Approach

Author : Sandeep Singla & Manjeet Bansal

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In this paper the authors will present options for e-waste management in India. These options are being developed, implemented and evaluated in the framework of different Indian bilaterally financed studies focusing on Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata. Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. According to a recent study about 380,000 tons of e-waste are generated annually in India and the generation of e-waste has touched 470,000 tons in 2011. The study also reveals that only about 6 percent of the e-waste is recycled, of which 95 percent is recycled through the informal sector. E-waste recycling in the informal sector provides jobs to thousands of people and supports the formal waste management agencies like municipalities. Investigations showed that the existence of an informal but entrepreneurial SME based infrastructure permits a profitable e-waste management business. At the same time, the informal sector is lacking skills and technologies, and manages hazardous material without any regard to occupational health and safety requirements and in an environmental harmful manner. It is observed that with rising e-waste quantities the recycling scenario is changing, with the formal recyclers increasingly entering the e-waste recycling sector. There is a widespread expectation that these formal sector recyclers would be able to manage e-waste in an environmentally sound manner by using Best Available Technologies (BAT) leading to better environment management and enhanced resource recovery. However, it is not clear whether the advent of formal recycling would come at the expense of informal sector recyclers or would complement their activities. In this paper, we present the integration of the informal and the formal sectors in India. We show that there are mutual gains to be obtained from an increased cooperation between the formal and informal sector because of their competitive advantages. Social welfare is enhanced through this interaction. It furthermore leads to reduced pollution, better resource management and creation of green jobs in the recycling sector. The outcomes of the investigation suggest that the collection, segregation and primary dismantling of non-hazardous fractions of e-waste should be focused in the informal sector while the other higher order recycling processes may be concentrated in the formal sector.

Keywords: E-Waste, recycling