Not many recyclers of e-waste

India currently has only about 98 registered e-waste recyclers

Hyderabad: Lack of adequate recycling capacity for electronic waste is costing the country several thousands crore of rupees each year. About 10 states, including Andhra Pradesh, annually generate about 70 per cent of the estimated eight lakh metric tonne of e-waste in the country, but only about three lakh metric tonne is recycled to dispose and recover precious metals like gold, silver and palladium.

India currently has only about 98 registered recyclers, with only two in the state, according to the ministry of environment and forests. Experts and environment officials term it a “bad scenario” stating that generation of e-waste will rise exponentially by 2020 while the capacity to recycle will remain the same, which is a fraction of what is required.

According to an independent study, Hyderabad is among the top e-waste generating cities in the country. The volume of e-waste in the city is estimated at around 16,000 tonne each year and is expected to rise exponentially.

A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report estimated that the volume of e-waste in the country would rise by 500 per cent over the next decade. Recycling of e-waste involves several processes including collection of e-wastes like flash drives, hard disks, motherboards, monitors, RAMs etc.

The recycling process has the motive of recovering several precious metals used in the manufacturing of the products. Studies state that a tonne of e-waste has about 340 gm of gold and 3500 gm of silver.

Speaking at the National Symposium on Sustainable E-waste Recycling Technologies here on Saturday, Steven Art, sales manager, Umicore Precious Metals Refining, said, “About 17 critical metals can be recovered from the recycling process of e-waste. But it is also important to manage toxins. It takes a lot of investment to recycle waste but the metal being recovered should be able to compensate that.”

The symposium was organised as part of the foundation day celebration of the Centre for Materials and Electronic Technologies. Dr Shruti Rai Bharadwaj, deputy director, ministry of environment and forests, said, “It is not a very good scenario. Only about three lakh tonnes of e-waste is being managed in an environment-friendly way. There are about 98 registered dismantlers in the country.”

Dr Sandip Chaterjee, director, department of electronics and information technology, said, “We are losing precious metals as recycling is being done non-formally, in an unorganised way.”

E-waste facts!

  • A tonne of e-waste has 340 gram of gold and 3500 gram of silver
  • One LCD TV contains 520 mg silver, 200 mg gold, 40 mg Palladium
  • Eight lakh metric tonne produced yearly in India, Hyderabad contributes 6,000 tonne
  • There are 98 registered recyclers in the country
  • Andhra Pradesh has only two such recyclers
( Source : dc )
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