Electronic waste or E-waste, as it’s popularly known, includes a varied range electronic appliances, products, components, and accessories that are broken, discarded, obsolete or exhausted, all fall under the umbrella of e-waste. E-waste is one of the fastest growing solid waste streams around the world and needs to be tackled carefully; proper disposal of the e-waste is the need of the hour.

Problems With E-Waste Recycling


The threats involved with the improper disposal of E-waste are alarming. The hazardous substance is a cause of serious health conditions to those who are directly exposed to them. However, the population who are not directly exposed are equally under threat and are constantly exposed to an unsafe environment without their knowledge. Most of the e-waste recycling is currently done by the informal sector which is not monitored by any external agencies. It is a nexus of illegal activity that is being carried out across the third world countries. India is one such country, where this problem for long has been neglected and the practice of unlawful recycling is being carried out over the years. E-waste is the outcome of the digital revolution. The use of electronic equipments has gone up in recent times. However, the knowledge about the threats after they reach end of their life is still limited. In case of informal sector, the recycling is carried with the purpose of extracting the useful substances like metal, plastics or glass. The rest of the residual waste is dumped in the landfills, flushed in the water bodies or the gases are released in the open without treatment. Rapid technological and life style changes of people are the prime reason why e-waste is generating at a more fast pace. The life of electronic equipment in today's time is very short and needs to be replaced at a regular interval. The initial costs and even planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast growing e-waste crisis around the globe. Due to lower environmental standards and working conditions in China and India, these countries have become safe haven for illegal disposal.

The life of electronic equipment in today's time is very short and needs to be replaced at a regular interval – before it is too late!

E-waste is of concern largely due to the toxicity of some of the substances if processed improperly. The toxicity is due to lead, mercury, cadmium and a number of other substances. A typical computer monitor may contain more than 6% lead by weight. Up to thirty-eight separate chemical elements are incorporated into e-waste items. The unsustainable nature of the discarded electronics and computer technology is another reason for the need to recycle. It's high time we start paying attention to e-waste management.

Classification of E-waste

Large Household Appliances

Washing machines, Dryers, Refrigerators, Air-conditioners, etc.

Small Household Appliances

Vacuum cleaners, Coffee Machines, Irons, Toasters, etc.

IT & Telecommunication Equipments

PCs, Latops, Mobiles, Telephones, Fax Machines, Copiers, Printers etc.

Consumer Equipments

Radio sets, Television sets, Cameras, Video recorders, Hi-fi recorders, Musical instruments,etc.

Lighting Equipments

Fluorescent tubes, sodium lamps, Bulbs, Halogen Bulbs,etc.

Electrical and Electronic Equipments

Equipment for turning, milling, sanding, grinding, sawing, cutting, Tools, etc.

Toys & Sports Equipments

Electric train sets, coin machines, treadmills, game console,Computers,Coin slot machines, etc.

Medical Devices

Radiotherapy devices, Cardiology Dialysis ventilators, Nuclear medicine Lab. equipment,etc.

Monitoring and Control Equipments

Smoke detectors, Heating regulators ,Thermostats, monitoring and control instruments,etc.

Automatic dispensers

Automatic dispensers for hot drinks, hot or cold bottles or cans , solid products, money, etc.

Industrial waste

Batteries, Capacitors, Motors, Cables, Generator,Fork lifts, chokes,transformers, cranes, etc.


All other types of electrical and electronic items.



Mercury is known to harm the developing fetuses and can cause brain and kidney damage.

Nervous System

Lead is toxic to the kidneys; it collects in the body and affects the nervous and reproductive systems.


Cadmium is carcinogenic and long-term exposure leads to the kidney and bone damage.


Haxavalent Chromium damages the liver,and DNA,Asthmatic bronchitis has been linked to this substance.


When burned,PVC produces Dioxins.They are one of the most known carcenogenics.


Cadmium is carcinogenic and long-term exposure leads to the kidney and bone damage.

E-waste Management Rules

The earlier E-waste (Management and Handling) Rule, 2011 has been replaced by a more adept law, E-waste Management Rule, 2016, by the ministry of Environment, Forest and climate change(MoEFCC).The law has been updated to address the loopholes in the earlier existing law and broaden the area of e-waste.

Key Features of the E-waste management rule, 2016:-

One of the prime features of this law is that now every producers/manufacturers in addition to the consumers are liable to recycle the e-waste through an authorized channel (licensed company), or else they will have to face legal action and pay hefty fine.

The revised rule has now expanded its applicability to the producer, manufacturer and refurbisher. The components, consumables spare, parts of EEE (Electrical and electronic equipment) have been listed along with equipment’s as e-waste. CFL and other mercury containing lamp are also the responsibility of the consumer to recycle. The small scale industry will now have to recycle because study shows they generate the maximum amount of E-waste.

Deposit Refund Scheme is additional channel for implementation of EPR by Producers to ensure efficient channelization of e-waste. Deposit Refund Scheme is that now the consumers will have to return the electronics products after usage for a small sum to recyclers or manufacturer.

Target based approach has been appointed under the law. Target for e-waste, which can be either in number or Weight shall be 30% of the quantity of waste generation for each bulk consumer/producer as indicated in EPR Plan during first two year of implementation of rules. Bulk consumer/producer has to take an authorization from PCB and maintain records and file annual returns.

State Government is also responsible to allocate space/shed for e-waste dismantling or recycling near the existing industrial park and even for the future projects. A detailed report for implementation of these laws along with the annual assessment report has to be forwarded every year to the centre. And local governing bodies will now have to collect and channelize the e-waste in their locality. Now the municipal bodies will have to segregate the e-waste collected from the chuck of waste at their site. And accordingly forward the waste to an authorized recycler in compliance with the norms.

To know about government norms in more details please click: E-waste Rules