Most of India’s E-waste Recycling Informal, Unscientific, Hazardous: Industry Leader to News18


As India is aiming to attain its local weather targets, there may be one sector that has been inflicting environmental and well being points. Attero Recycling, the pioneer and chief of the e-waste administration system, informed News18 about how the nation’s future could also be.

India roughly produces round 2 million tonnes of e-waste yearly and it’s rising 15% yr on yr. Many persons are additionally involved concerning the waste produced by electrical automobiles, which incorporates lithium and battery waste. It is known that EV-related waste is growing within the nation, with virtually 40% year-on-year progress.

However, Nitin Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Attero Recycling, which is the one firm on the earth to get carbon credit for e-waste recycling from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, stated that almost all of recycling occurs utilizing casual, unscientific, and unsafe methodologies which lead to environmental affect, social value and metallic losses as nicely.

While explaining the hazardous strategies, he stated that, for instance, within the case of a cell phone’s printed circuit board (which has two varieties of gold bearing), the casual sector dips the gold plating into the cyanide and sulfuric acid, which reacts with gold and attracts the metallic selectively. But the remaining answer is being dumped within the close by water our bodies, main to harmful water air pollution with cyanide.

According to him, the method additionally contains burning invaluable metals utilizing lead which causes poisonous lead and coal fume launch. Gupta additionally highlighted that since this casual sector primarily employs kids and ladies, contemplating the well being points associated to the recycling course of the federal government determined to deliver laws round e-waste.

Govt coverage

Gupta talked concerning the e-waste coverage which was first launched in 2013 however it was modified as a result of there have been no targets set for the OEMs for accumulating again end-of-life gear which is primarily their accountability and the bulk of the e-waste was getting recycled within the casual sector until 2018-19.

He stated, “Govt changed this situation by bringing the strict Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulation in 2016 that was dedicated toward ensuring that e-wastes are collected properly and recycled scientifically. But even then it was not implemented with the OEMs.”

So, in 2019, the federal government stopped the imports of Apple and Samsung as a result of they weren’t complying with the EPR rules, Gupta stated. “When the imports stopped, all the OEMs started complying and since 2019 the amount of e-waste handled by the formal sector has increased significantly,” he added.

As per Attero’s CEO, the government and the regulators are doing a pretty good job on the policy front. He also believes that if needed, further changes to the regulations will be introduced by the Centre.

Recently a report suggested that India may need Electronic Upgradation Policy. Regarding this Gupta said that from a purely environmental perspective, such a policy would be helpful but from a commercial perspective, it is difficult to say how successful it will be.

However, he said that the government has introduced a new strategy that is similar to the upgradation policy, called Right to Repair.

Home collection

Some people have suggested whether a hassle-free home collection process could be used for e-waste management. Gupta said that it is not only possible but also happening at this moment in India.

He said: “Attero has started the direct form of consumer collection channel. We reach out to consumers online and actual fulfilment happens offline. Though it involves a lot of reverse logistics and thought processes, as well as cost, that is the way the industry will move as we have already done a large part of that investment.”

He explained the process by saying that in terms of large appliances, a consumer can opt for an exchange option, and then the old appliance goes to the formal sector for recycling. But if a consumer, doesn’t exchange the old appliance, then they give the product to the informal sector (kabadiwala) for recycling.

Now, in such cases, companies like Attero are replacing this informal sector, collecting the waste from the customer directly, by formalising the informal sector in the most environmentally friendly way.

“In terms of small appliances, such as phones, laptops, or chargers, the home collection may be successful if the consumer gets paid for it while making sure that these products are recycled properly,” he suggested.

Tech knowledge

It is claimed that India does not currently have the technology to sustainably extract precious metals from e-waste. While agreeing with this comment, Gupta said that in India the technology for recycling e-waste is limited.

He said, “Attero is the only company in the country which has the technology with certifications and ability to process all kinds of e-waste, as well as extract other metals. Every other recycler just claims to do so but they don’t. It shows the technological gap in the country.”

He also said that “theoretically, one solution to reduce the tech gap would be that we start licensing our technology to other recyclers or other recyclers can invest and develop their technology since this is a competitive market”.

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