Electronic waste is a ticking time bomb!
Electronic waste is made up of old, discarded computer keyboards, monitors, laptops, printers, TVs, CDs, batteries, mobile phone chargers, compact florescent lamps (CFLs) etc, all of which contain toxic products. For instance cathode ray tubes (CRTs) contain lead, Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) contain mercury, flame retardant plastic contains polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). All these endanger human health by polluting air and water.
According to a study by NASSCOM Foundation, India generates 1.85 million tonnes of e-waste every year and not all of it is getting recycled. Unfortunately, most households prefer to sell their e-waste to local scarp dealers who have no expertise in scientific processing of ewaste. After removal of chips, circuit boards etc, the ewaste gets dumped in landfills and in due course the toxic metals and chemicals penetrate the soil to contaminate ground-water.
Get your waste and e-waste disposed off safely…
The next time, when you want to dispose-off old electronic devices from your office or home to the neighbourhood kabadiwala, act as a responsible eco-citizen and call up one of the recyclers in your city (listed in Resources section below) who will collect the old goods to be discarded. As collection and transportation is an expensive activity, these recycling companies prefer to handle e-waste generated by corporates and aggregators, but some of them do attend to collection of e-waste from individuals.
The recyclers dismantle the item and keep aside the usable parts. The non-reusable parts are segregated into categories such as metals (lead, cadmium etc), plastic, glass and so on. Metals are sold to re-melting companies, whereas other items are shredded and then safely destroyed in company-owned or government-owned hazardous waste treatment facilities. The other option to safely recycle is to sell your old electronics item to refurbishment companies like Reglobe who quote a price and on acceptance, pay and collect the item.
Regular household waste consists of organic wet waste and dry waste, especilly paper. It is essential that households segregate the two, prior to handing over to outfits who collect the same from individual's doorstep. Organic waste is composted for usage as a nutrient for plants. Paper is also collected by outfits who in most cases have trained raddiwalas to perform the task. Paper is weighed by them at the doorstep and payment is made on-the-spot. Out of over 11 million tons of paper produced in India annually, over 8 million tons fails to get recycled. It is high time that we aim to recycle 80% of waste paper, like in Sweden.