E-waste has become one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. According to a study by UNEP, electronic waste in India from computers alone is expected to jump by 500% over 2007 levels by 2020. Another 2013 study by ASSOCHAM found that the Indian capital i.e. the Delhi-NCR region was on its way to become the electronic waste capital, generating an estimated 50,000 metric tons of electronic scrap per annum by 2015. The problem with electronic junk is that it contains numerous toxic materials such as mercury, lead, and cadmium, which must be processed, recycled and disposed responsibly in order to prevent harm to the eco-system. Unfortunately, about 95% of the electronic waste produced is handled by the informal recycling sector, improperly using crude techniques, which leads to environmental pollution. So how does one ensure that their old broken down electronics are recycled correctly without harming the environment? So how does one find the right e-waste recycler who ensures complete end to end eco-friendly recycling of electronic scrap? It’s not an easy task, but it is an essential one to ensure a sustainable future. Let’s take a look.
Why You Need to Find the Right E-waste Recycler?
Recycling your electronic waste with just about any electronic waste recycler is not going to do the trick. Several recycling companies claim to ensure safe and responsible recycling to draw consumers, in a bid to make profits, as electronic waste besides containing toxins, also contains over 60 metals, including gold, silver, platinum and palladium from electronic junk, which can be recovered and resold. However, not all of these recyclers dispose of the e-scrap toxins in a safe manner, resulting in environmental pollution. According to the Basel Action Network (BAN), up to 70 to 80 % of the electronic waste in developed nations meant for recycling is exported (often illegally) to developing nations like India, Ghana, China and Pakistan, where about 95% of the electronic scrap is handled by the informal sector, using crude polluting processes, like open air incineration, acid stripping and manual dismantling, and employ poorly paid workers, including women and children in these hazardous processes. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report titled, “The Global Impact of E-waste”, toxins like cadmium, lead and mercury, which are released into the environment during these processes can cause serious damage to the environment and health, even when they are consumed in low quantities. In order to prevent such environmental pollution and health hazards associated with electronic waste, and ensure recovery of valuable resources, one needs to look for a good electronic waste recycler, who ensures sustainable and responsible recycling. And how do we find such an e-waste recycler? Let’s take a look at a few tips and pointers.
Finding the Right E-waste Recycler: Things to Consider
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when looking for an eco-friendly and responsible electronic waste recycler:
- Certifications: Always check whether the recycler is certified by or registered with government and environmental bodies like the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the state pollution control board. Also look for certifications like ISO 14001 – 2004 and OHSAS 18001 – 2007. The ISO 14001 – 2004 certification will let you know whether the recycling company you are considering is compliant with applicable laws and regulations as well as other environmentally oriented requirements. The OHSAS 18001 certification ensures that the quality and occupational health and safety management by organizations. Any reputed electronic junk recycler would ensure that they are updated to the latest standards and legally compliant.
- Green Technology: Check out if the e-scrap recycler makes use of clean technology to recycle and dispose electronic junk in an environmentally responsible and safe manner. Green recycling companies will ensure that electronic junk is processed without causing any harm to the eco-system, by utilizing environmentally clean technology, unlike informal electronic waste processors who make use primitive and polluting techniques. Clean recyclers will also ensure that effluents and discharges from the recycling process are disposed in registered Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs), in order to prevent pollution. Another advantage with green e-waste recyclers is that their processing techniques ensure a lower carbon footprint.
- Services: Check whether the electronic waste recycler you are considering offers recycling services for the type of electronic gadget or appliance you wish to recycle, as all companies may not process all types of e-scrap. Responsible and well established recyclers usually offer recycling services for all types of electronic junk, so it would be advisable to opt for one who does.
- Data Security: Look for responsible e-waste recyclers who guarantee secure, reliable and safe data destruction before you recycle your old electronics with them. Check the data security standards followed by the recycling company you are considering and find out whether they have adopted the latest data destruction practices. Data security is essential for both individuals and corporate organizations as most transactions take place electronically and once these electronics reach the end of their useful lives, the data on them must be destructed to ensure that information is not misused. Responsible e-waste recyclers ensure that their data is either put straight into processing or kept in a secure place until its processing and destruction occurs.
- Reputation: Find out how long the electronic junk recycler has been in business. Go online and check out reviews of the company and crosscheck their registrations. Also consider checking the testimonials of the company’s previous clients. Reputed recyclers would ensure that discarded electronics are disposed of properly because they typically have the certifications, financial resources, and a dedicated staff focused on sustainability issues and recognize that electronic waste needs to be recycled in an environmentally safe manner.
Make sure you keep these tips in mind when looking for the right electronic waste recycler.
E-waste Tips: What Not to Do
As a responsible and environmentally conscious consumer, here are a few tips you could follow to prevent harm to the eco-system:
- Don’t dump your old gadgets and electronics in parks, streets, roadsides or local communities: Electronic waste contains many hazardous materials and creates environmental and health issues, if not disposed of properly.
- Don’t tamper with your old electronics: Crumbled and cracked electronics can expose you and your surroundings to toxic elements like lead, cadmium and mercury.
Electronic waste has always been a challenge – however, as a consumer we can prevent environmental harm by choosing a responsible recycler who recycles e-scrap in an environmentally safe manner.
Attero, a NASA recognized technology innovator is committed to end to end e-waste recycling in an environmentally responsible manner. As India’s largest electronic asset management company, Attero aims to implement a sustainable solution for e-waste and electronic asset management, while ensuring a safer and more secure future for the planet. To accomplish these goals, Attero offers various services to the electronics industry including customized solutions for e-waste management, electronics asset recovery, data security and electronics reverse logistics along with repair, refurbishment and retailing of electronics.