The Complete Technology Book on E-Waste Recycling (Printed Circuit Board, LCD, Cell Phone, Battery, Computers)


The Complete Technology Book on E-Waste Recycling (Printed Circuit Board, LCD, Cell Phone, Battery, Computers)

Author: NPCS Board of Consultants & Engineers
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9788178331577
Code: NI288
Pages: 355
Price: Rs. 1,975.00   US$ 150.00

Published: 2015
Publisher: Asia Pacific Business Press Inc.
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Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling or disposal are also considered as e-waste. With advancements in the electronic world almost occurring on a day-to-day basis and increased availability of products to the public, it is not surprising to see a staggering increase in the generation of electronic wastes over the past decade. The e-waste now represents the biggest and fastest growing manufacturing of wastes with as high as about 40 million tons a year at the global level. All these thing leads to increase in E-waste generation in the country.

Electrical and electronic equipment contain different hazardous materials which are harmful to human health and the environment, if not disposed of carefully. Due to the lack of awareness for e-waste recycling in emerging economies, innovation hubs and centres of excellence have not yet been established. This has leads to the requirement of a proper disposal and recycling system so that environmental pollution and health hazard is reduced. We have tried to give information in this book which will help in minimizing this ever growing problem.

Today the electronic waste recycling business is in all areas of the developed world a large and rapidly consolidating business. This recycling is done by sorting, dismantling, and recovery of valuable materials. This diversion is achieved through reuse and refurbishing.

This book aims at providing a thorough understanding and analysis of the E-Waste in the wake of evolving market dynamics. The book describes E-waste rules by Ministry of Environment and Forests. The book discusses the overview of the E-Waste Recycling along with their Classification, Composition, Recycling Process of different products and effects of E-waste on environment and human health. Also it contains suppliers contact details of plant & machinery with their photographs.

The book covers E-waste Recycling- An Introduction, Overview of WEEE/E-Waste Management, Hazardous Materials in E-Waste, E-Waste Management System Specifications, Recycling of E-Waste, Recycling of Printed Circuit Board, Recycling of Liquid Crystal Display, Cell Phones Recycling, Battery Recycling, Computer Recycling, Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive and Environmental Aspects.

It will be a standard reference book for Professionals, Decision-makers, Engineers, those Studying and Researching in this important area and others interested in the field of E-Waste Recycling. Professionals in academia and industry will appreciate this comprehensive and practical reference book, due to its multidisciplinary nature.

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Composition of E-Waste
Components of E-Waste
Status of E-Waste in India
SWOT Analysis
SWOT Analysis of E-Waste Management
E-Waste Legislation in India
The Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2003
The Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Trails boundary Movement) Rules, 2008
Guideline for Environmentally Sound Management of E-Waste, 2008
The E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011
Loopholes in Legislations
Integrated Product Policy
Sustainable Development
Mechanism of WEEE/E-waste Trade
WEEE/E-waste Life Cycle
WEEE/E-Waste Material Flow Model
Phase I
Phase II
Phase III
Phase IV
Components of WEEE/E-waste Management
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive in the European Union
Obligations of the Producer under the WEEE
Barriers to Recycling of WEEE
WEEE Health and Safety Implications
Valuable Materials in E-Waste
Possible Hazardous Substances Present in E-Easte
Component Possible Hazardous Content
Glycol, Other Unknown Substances
Plastics Containing Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs)
Refractory Ceramic Fibers (RCFs)
Liquid Crystal Display (LCDs)
Components Containing Plasticisers/Stabilizers
Circuit Boards
Flame Retardants
Electrolyte Capacitors
Capacitors Containing Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Tentative Specifications for E-Waste Collection System
Tentative Specifications for E-waste Treatment System
Manual E-Waste Dismantling/Treatment Plant
Semi-Automatic E-Waste Dismantling/Treatment Plant
Automatic E-Waste Dismantling/Treatment Plant
Common Specifications for Utilities at Collection Centers and Processing Facilities
Individual Processes
Size Classification
Magnetic Separation
Density Separation
Eddy Current Separation
Electrostatic Separation
Outputs and Markets
Emerging Recycling and Recovery Technologies
Automated Disassembly
Thermal Treatments
Hydrometallurgical Extraction
Dry Capture Technologies
Biotechnological Capture
Sensing Technologies
Design for Recycling and Inverse Manufacturing
E-Waste Segregation and Disposal Method
Structure and Main Steps in the Recycling Chain
Structuring of the Recycling Chain
Composition of Printed Circuit Board
Characteristics of PCB Scrap
Density Differences
Magnetic and Electrical Conductivity Differences
Liberation Size
Chemical Reactivity
Fabrication Process for Printed Circuit Process (PCB)
Mechanical Recycling Process of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)
PCB Recycling of the Metal Fraction
Challenges and Future Trends
Recovery of Copper and Precious Metals
Recycling and Recovery of the Non-Metallic Materials
Composition and Characterisation of LCDs
Barriers to Recycling of LCDs
Recycling Processes for Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs)
Manual Disassembly
Manual Disassembly Processing for LCDs
Automated Processes for LCD Recycling
Automated Disassembly Processes for LCDs
Hazardous Materials in Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs)
Environmental Concerns of LCD
Loss of Light Energy
Hazardous Chemical
Hazardous Gases
Mercury Accumulation in End-of-Life Products
A Cell Phone Contains Just a Few Individual Parts
Harmful Substances in Mobile Phones
Process Overview
Collection and Transportation
Reuse of Phones
Reuse of Components
Recycling of Materials
I. Pre-treatment
II. Copper Recovery
III. Precious Metals Recovery
IV. Recovery Rate
Main Processing Routes
Pyrometallurgical Route
Hydrometallurgical Route
Metallurgical Aspects of Lead Recycling from Battery Scrap
Technical Steps in Battery Recycling
Dismantling of Battery Cases and Feed Preparation
Melting and Reduction Operation of Paste and Battery Fines
Melting of Grids, Terminals and Bridges
Refining of Crude Lead
Gas Cleaning System
Composition of Computer
Recycling Process of Computers
Sorting, Processing and Reuse in Production
Removing the Large Objects
Test for Potential Reuse
Manual Disassembly
Separation into Material Composition
Disposal of Non-Recyclable Parts
Purchase of Products Made of Recycled Materials
RoHS Compliance
The RoHS Directive and Proscribed Materials
RoHS Proscribed Materials
Brominated Flame Retardants
Cadmium, Mercury and Hexavalent Chromium
Benefits ROHS
Health Benefits
Reliability Concerns Unfounded
Flow Properties and Assembly
Some Exempt Products Achieve Compliances
Modified Draft Notification
Procedure for Seeking Authorization and Registration for Handling E-wastes
Procedure for Registration with State Pollution Control Board
Reduction in the Use of Hazardous Substances (ROHS) in the Manufacture of Electrical and Electronic Equipment
Effects on Environment and Human Health
Pollutants in E-Waste
Impact of Hazardous Substances on Health and Environment
Dealing with E-Waste
Management Options to Severity of the Problem
Responsibilities of the Government
Responsibility and Role of Industries
Responsibilities of the Citizen
Need for Stringent Health Safeguards and Environmental Protection Laws in India

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Sample Chapters

(Following is an extract of the content from the book)
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E-Waste Recycling–An Introduction


E-waste comprises of wastes generated from used electronic devices and household appliances which are not fit for their original intended use and are destined for recovery, recycling or disposal. Such wastes encompasses wide range of electrical and electronic devices such as computers, hand held cellular phones, personal stereos, including large household appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners etc. E-wastes contain over 1000 different substances many of which are toxic and potentially hazardous to the environment and human health, if not handled in an environmentally sound manner.


E-waste according to the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2010, means waste electrical and electronic equipment, whole or in part but not limited to equipment listed in Schedule 1 and scraps or rejects from their manufacturing and repair process, which is intended to be discarded.


The perception of e-waste is often restricted to a narrower sense, comprising mainly of end-of-life information - telecommunication equipment and consumer electronics. However, technically, electronic waste is only a subset of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment).


Composition of E-Waste


Composition of e-waste is very diverse and differs in products across different categories. It contains more than 1000 different substances, which fall under “hazardous” and “non-hazardous” categories. Broadly, it consists of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, glass, wood plywood, printed circuit boards, concrete and ceramics, rubber and other items. Iron and steel constitutes about 50% of the e-waste followed by plastics (21%), non-ferrous metals (13%) and other constituents. Non-ferrous metals consist of metals like copper, aluminium and precious metals ex. silver, gold, platinum, palladium etc. The presence of elements like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, selenium, hexavalent chromium and flame-retardants beyond threshold quantities in e-waste classifies them as hazardous waste.


Components of E-Waste


E-waste has been categorized into three main categories, viz. Large Household Appliances, IT, Telecom and Consumer Equipment. Refrigerator and Washing Machine represent large household appliances, Personal Computer, Monitor and Laptop represent IT and Telecom, while Television represents Consumer Equipment. Each of these E-waste items has been classified with respect to twenty-six common components, which could be found in them. These components form the “Building Blocks” of each item and therefore they are readily “identifiable” and “removable”. These components are metal, motor/ compressor, cooling, plastic, insulation, glass, LCD, rubber, wiring/electrical, concrete, transformer, magnetron, textile, circuit board, fluorescent lamp, incandescent lamp, heating element, thermostat, BFR-containing plastic, batteries, CFC/HCFC/HFC/HC, external electric cables, refractory ceramic fibers, radio active substances and electrolyte capacitors (over L/D 25 mm).


SWOT Analysis


SWOT analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in E-waste Management. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective. The SWOT analysis on e-waste and its management has been developed to provide the full awareness of the situation in the region, in order to guide on policy and guideline development, sustainable decision making and problem solving regarding e-waste management in the region.


Integrated Product Policy


Integrated product policy (IPP) is a public policy initiative which has been on the EU agenda since roughly the late 1990s and is concerned with the reduction of environmental impact associated with products and services. The purpose of the EC initiative was to harmonise varying environmental product policy strategies that were developing within the Community to minimise the environmental impact of their products at varying stages of the product life cycle: for example, take-back schemes, product labelling, taxes or other economic initiatives.


Sustainable Development


One of the objectives of the sixth EAP which implements the EU waste strategy was to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation and to bring about a situation where resources were used more efficiently and waste management was improved so that more sustainable patterns in production and consumption were established. The strategy is based on seven key challenges, and most relevant to this discussion are:


     •  to limit climate change;

     •  to limit the adverse effects of transport;

     •  to promote more sustainable modes of production and consumption and breaking the link between economic growth and environmental degradation;

     •  more responsible management of natural resources.


Overview of WEEE/E-Waste Management


WEEE/E-waste is a complex mixture of hazardous and non-hazardous waste requiring specialized segregation, collection, transport, treatment and disposal. Against this backdrop, this chapter overviews the collection and transport systems as key components driving the overall efficiency of WEEE/E-waste management systems. Since collection and transport are involved in each step of the material flow during WEEE/E-waste trade, each has been summarized below, followed by a description of the components of WEEE/E-waste management and elements of WEEE/E-waste collection and transport systems. These elements form the basis of WEEE/E-waste take-back systems. The stakeholders involved are also noted below, followed by guidance notes.


Mechanism of WEEE/E-waste Trade


Three elements encapsulate the mechanism of WEEE/E-waste trade, specifically:


    1.  Material flow

    2.  Life cycle

    3.  Geographical boundary


The following sections provide the basis for understanding the role of WEEE/E-waste collection and transport within waste management, from WEEE/E-waste generation through its transformation into new materials.


Components of WEEE/E-waste Management


Phases II, III and IV of the material flow model define the three major components of WEEE/E-waste management systems, namely:


    1.  WEEE/E-waste collection, sorting and transport systems

    2.  WEEE/E-waste treatment system

    3.  WEEE/E-waste disposal system


WEEE/E-waste collection, sorting and transport systems are the key link between WEEE/E-waste generation and treatment, reuse and disposal and these systems’ operational efficiency is dependent on their management systems and the stakeholders responsible for their management. Their respective management systems consist of producer and retailer take-back.


Barriers to Recycling of WEEE


One of the main barriers to recycling of WEEE by manufacturers is the distribution of WEEE in relation to the location of the manufacturing plant. Many WEEE manufacturers are based a significant distance from their markets and also from the resulting waste. This makes it difficult and expensive for them to operate take-back facilities specifically for their appliances.


Retailers and distributors are in the best position to collect WEEE, as old appliances can be collected when delivering the new ones, or people can take small appliances to their local store when buying/collecting a new appliance. The barriers to such schemes are that the retailers would need to carry the cost for collection points and provide storage facilities, which, apart from space constraints, would also have security and health and safety implications.


WEEE Health and Safety Implications


Electrical and electronic products contain a wide range of materials and some of these are known to present potential health and safety issues for workers involved in their treatment at end of life.


In recognition of the growing concerns around the use of brominated flame retardants, there have been moves by the industry to develop a coordinated approach to best practice. A good example of this approach is given by the Voluntary Emissions Control Action Programme (VECAP), which was established by the brominated-flame-retardant industry. VECAP was set up to manage, monitor and minimise industrial emissions of brominated flame retardants into the environment through partnership with Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).


Hazardous Materials in E-Waste


Electrical and electronic equipment contain different hazardous materials which are harmful to human health and the environment if not disposed of carefully. While some naturally occurring substances are harmless in nature, their use in the manufacture of electronic equipment often results in compounds which are hazardous (e.g. chromium becomes chromium VI). The following list gives a selection of the mostly found toxic substances in e-waste.


Valuable Materials in E-Waste


Electrical and electronic equipment contain various fractions of valuable materials. Most of the valuable substances are found in printed circuit boards, which occur in relevant quantities mainly in the categories Office, Information and Communication Equipment as well as Entertainment and Consumer Electronics. Besides well known precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum and palladium also scarce materials like indium and gallium start to play an important role, due to their application in new technologies (e.g flat screens, photovoltaics).



Component Possible Hazardous Content

     •  Metal

     •  Motor\Compressor

     •  Cooling ODS

     •  Plastic Phthalate plasticize, BFR

     •  Insulation ODS in foam, asbestos, refractory ceramic fiber Glass

     •  CRT Lead, Antimony, Mercury, Phosphors

     •  LCD Mercury

     •  Rubber Phthalate plasticizer, BFR

     •  Wiring / Electrical Phthalate plasticizer, Lead, BFR


Glycol, Other Unknown Substances

The substances within the above mentioned components, which cause most concern, are the heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and chromium, halogcnatcd substances (e.g. CFCs), polychlorinated biphenyls, plastics and circuit boards that contain brominated flame retardants (BFRs). BFR can give rise to dioxins and furans during incineration. Other materials and substances that can be present are arsenic, asbestos, nickel and copper. These substances may act as a catalyst to increase the formation of dioxins during incineration. The description about some of these substances where uncertainty exists regarding their “level of concern” based on literature review are given below.


Components Containing Plasticisers/Stabilizers


The concerns here include the use of phthalate plasticizers and lead stabilizers in plastics and rubbers. For example, dibutyl phthalate and diethylhexyl phthalate are considered “Toxic for Reproduction” at concentrations >=0.5%.


Circuit Boards


While most boards are typically 70% non metallic, they also contain about 16% copper, 4% solder and 2% nickel along with iron, silver, gold, palladium and tantalum. Approximately 90% of the intrinsic value of most scarp boards is in the gold and palladium content. Consequently, traditional reprocessing of circuit boards has concentrated on the recovery of metals values. Some of the components found in circuit boards are described below.




It is estimated that 22% of the yearly world consumption of mercury is used in electrical and electronic equipment (ex. in fluorescent lamps). Its use in EEE has declined significantly in recent years. It has been used in thermostats, (position) sensors, relays and switches (ex. on printed circuit boards and in measuring equipment), batteries and discharge lamps.


Furthermore, it is used in medical equipment, data transmission, telecommunications, and mobile phones. The estimated concentration level of mercury in computers is 0.002%.




Copper beryllium alloys are used in electronic connectors where a capability for repeated connection and disconnection is desired, and thus where solder is not used to make a permanent joint. Such connectors are often gold plated, so that copper oxide is not created on their surfaces, and does not form a non-electrically conductive barrier between the two connectors. A second use of beryllium in the electronics industry is as beryllium oxide, or beryllia. Beryllia transmits heat very efficiently, and is used in heat sinks.


Capacitors Containing Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)


PCBs were extensively used in electrical equipment such as capacitors and transformers. Their use in open applications was widely banned in 1972 in Europe and they have not been used in the manufacture of new equipment since 1986. Capacitors containing PCBs fall into two categories, according to size. Small capacitors were used in fluorescent/ other discharge lamps and also with fractional horsepower motors used in domestic and light-industrial electrical equipment. Large capacitors were used for power factor correction and similar duties.



E-Waste Management System Specifications


This chapter describes the E-waste management system specifications of the technology proposed and its financial viability. In this chapter, at first, specifications of E-waste collection and transportation system has been described followed by specification of 1st and 2nd level of E-waste treatment. These specifications are based on the technical specifications, which are used globally and the cost estimates from international plant and equipment suppliers.


Tentative Specifications for E-Waste Collection System


The volume of E-waste item to be collected and transported till 2020 based on E-waste inventory estimates in Phnom Penh is given in table 1. This is based on 50% availability of E-waste for recycling.


Depending upon the type of E-waste, different types of bins/cages will be used as shown in figure 1. The collected E-waste in container will be lifted manually, through fork lifts, placed into small trucks/container carriers and transported from the collection facility to E-waste treatment facility.


Tentative Specifications for E-waste Treatment System


E-waste treatment facility will consist of 1st and 2nd level E-waste treatment. After 1st and 2nd level E-waste treatment, E-waste fractions will be sold/ exported to 3rd level recyclers for precious metals recovery. The installed capacity of the 1st and 2nd level plant has been conceptualized to be about 9 tons per day during 2009 to 32 tons per day during 2019 considering 50% collection efficiency.


Common Specifications for Utilities at Collection Centers and Processing Facilities


E-waste storage areas/ Hazardous waste storage areas/ Product storage areas should follow following basic design principles.


    1.  Sites for storage (including temporary storage) of E-waste prior to their treatment should have impermeable surface for appropriate areas with the provision of spillage collection facilities and where appropriate, decanters and cleanser-degreasers.

    2.  Sites for storage (including temporary storage) of E-waste prior to their treatment should have weatherproof covering for appropriate areas.

    3.  Some spare parts (e.g. motors and compressors) will contain oil and/or other fluids. Such part must be appropriately segregated, end stored in containers that are secured such that oil and other fluids cannot escape from them These containers must be stored on an area with an area with an Impermeable surface and a sealed drainage system.

    4.  Waste Oil should be either reused or incinerated in common hazardous waste incineration facilities.


Recycling of E-Waste


Individual Processes


One of the most common pieces of equipment used for initial crushing and shredding is a hammer mill. Hammer mills accomplish size reduction by impacting a slow moving target with a rapidly moving hammer. The target has little or no momentum (low kinetic energy), whereas the hammer tip is travelling at rates of typically up to 7000 m min–1 and higher (high kinetic energy).


Material disintegration may also be effected by the use of metal crushers which have low specific energy consumption and offer high operational immunity to the presence of solid pieces and may be also used as a pre-stage prior to shredding.


Size Classification


Screeners are sifting units that are rotated as powder is fed into their interior. The finer particles fall through the sieve opening and oversized particles are ejected off the end. Rotary sifters or drum screeners are often used for de-agglomerating or de-lumping type operations. Screeners are available in three main types: drum sifter, rectangular deck and round deck.


Magnetic Separation


Magnetic separators such as low-intensity drum types are widely used for the recovery of ferromagnetic materials from non-ferrous metals and other non­magnetic materials. There have been many advances in the design and operation of high-intensity magnetic separators due mainly to the introduction of rare-earth alloy permanent magnets with the capability of providing high field strengths and gradients. For WEEE, magnetic separation systems utilise ferrite, rare-earth or electromagnets, with high-intensity electromagnet systems being used extensively and which are particularly suited to materials fed to the underside of drum magnets; see Figure 3.


Density Separation


Several different methods may be deployed to separate heavier fractions from lighter ones, the basis being the difference in density to enable such. Gravity concentration separates materials of different specific gravity by their relative movement in response to the action of gravity and one or more other forces, such as the resistance to motion offered by water or air. The motion of a particle in a fluid is dependent not only upon the particle’s density, but also on its size and shape; large particles are affected more than smaller ones. In practice, close size control of feeds to gravity separation equipment is required in order to minimise size effects and render the relative motion of the particle gravity dependent.



Electrostatic Separation


The rotor type electrostatic separator, using corona charging, may be utilised to separate raw materials into conductive and non-conductive fractions. The extreme difference in the electrical conductivity or specific electrical resistance between metals and non-metals affords an excellent pre-condition for the successful implementation of a corona electrostatic separation in recycling of waste. Electrostatic separation has been mainly used for the recovery of copper or aluminium from chopped electric wires and cables and, more specifically, for the recovery of copper and precious metals from printed circuit board scrap; see Figure 4.




As noted previously, metals constitute the most valuable and easiest-to-recycle materials. A recent study concluded that ‘There appear to be no major difficulties concerning the recovery and recycling of metals from WEEE. Metals also constitute the largest weight of materials in WEEE, around 47% overall for small mixed WEEE. Current recycling processes are capable of recovering collection of e-waste generated during the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment and channelizing the same for recycling or disposal.


(2)Collection of e-waste generated from the ‘end of life’ of their products in line with the principle of ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ (EPR), and to ensure that such e-wastes are channelized to registered refurbisher or dismantler or recycler.


   (3)  setting up collection centers or take back system either individually or collectively for all electrical and electronic equipment at the end of their life.


Responsibilities of Distributers


(1)Every distributer shall be responsible to collect the e-waste by providing the consumer(s) a box, bin or a demarcated area to deposit e-waste.


(2)Every distributer shall make an application in Form 4 to the concerned State Pollution Control Boards or Pollution Control Committees for grant of one time registration;


   (3)  Every distributer shall ensure that the e-waste thus collected is safely transported back to the producer or to authorized collection centre as the case may be.


Responsibilities of refurbisher–


(1)Every refurbisher shall collect e-waste generated during the process of refurbishing and channelized the waste to producer or authorized collection center or dismantler or recycler.


   (2)  Every refurbisher shall file annual returns in Form 3 to the concerned State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee, on or before the 30th day of June following to the financial year to which that return relates.


Responsibilities of collection centers – Any person(s) operating collection centre(s) individually or collectively shall,-


(1)obtain an authorization in accordance with the procedures prescribed under Rule -11 from the concerned State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee as the case may be and provide details such as address, telephone numbers/helpline number, e-mail, etc. of such collection centre(s) to the general public.


   (2)  ensure that the e-waste collected by them are stored in a secured manner till these are sent to producer(s) or refurbisher or registered dismantler(s) or recycler(s) as the case may be;


Responsibilities of consumer or bulk consumer.-


(1)Consumers of electrical and electronic equipment shall ensure that e-waste are deposited with the distributer or authorized collection centers.


        (2)  Bulk consumers of electrical and electronic equipment shall ensure that e-waste are channelized to distributer or authorized collection centers or refurbisher or registered dismantler or recyclers or avail the pick-up or take back services provided by the producers; and


Environmental Aspects


The electronic industry is the world’s largest and fastest growing manufacturing industry during the last decade; it has assumed the role of providing a forceful leverage to the socio - economic and technological growth of a developing society. The consequence of its consumer oriented growth combined with rapid product obsolescence and technological advances are a new environmental challenge - the growing menace of “Electronics Waste” or “e waste” that consists of obsolete electronic devices. The discarded and end-of life electronics products ranging from computers, equipment used in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), home appliances, audio and video products and all of their peripherals are popularly known as Electronic waste (E-waste). E-waste is not hazardous if it is stocked in safe storage or recycled by scientific methods or transported from one place to the other in parts or in totality in the formal sector.


Effects on Environment and Human Health


Disposal of e-wastes is a particular problem faced in many regions across the globe. Computer wastes that are landfilled produces contaminated leachates which eventually pollute the groundwater. Acids and sludge obtained from melting computer chips, if disposed on the ground causes acidification of soil. For example, Guiyu, Hong Kong a thriving area of illegal e-waste recycling is facing acute water shortages due to the contamination of water resources.


Impact of Hazardous Substances on Health and Environment


The waste from electronic products include toxic substances such as cadmium and lead in the circuit boards; lead oxide and cadmium in monitor cathode ray tubes (CRTs); mercury in switches and flat screen monitors; cadmium in computer batteries; polychlorinated biphenyls in older capacitors and transformers; and brominated flame retardants on printed circuit boards, plastic casings, cables and PVC cable insulation that releases highly toxic dioxins and furans when burned to retrieve copper from the wires. Many of these substances are toxic and carcinogenic. The materials are complex and have been found to be difficult to recycle in an environmentally sustainable manner even in developed countries.



Responsibility and Role of Industries


Generators of wastes should take responsibility to determine the output characteristics of wastes and if hazardous, should provide management options. All personnel involved in handling e-waste in industries including those at the policy, management, control and operational levels, should be properly qualified and trained. Companies can adopt their own policies while handling e-wastes.


Responsibilities of the Citizen


Waste prevention is perhaps more preferred to any other waste management option including recycling. Donating electronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable products and keeps them out of the waste management system for a longer time. But care should be taken while donating such items i.e. the items should be in working condition. Reuse, in addition to being an environmentally preferable alternative, also benefits society. By donating used electronics, schools, non-profit organizations, and lower-income families can afford to use equipment that they otherwise could not afford. E-wastes should never be disposed with garbage and other household wastes. This should be segregated at the site and sold or donated to various organizations.


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