Electronic waste (e-waste) typically includes discarded computer monitors, motherboards, mobile phones and chargers, compact discs, headphones, television sets, air conditioners and refrigerators.
According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017, India generates about 2 million tonnes (MT) of e-waste annually and ranks fifth among e-waste producing countries, after the US, China, Japan and Germany. In 2016-17, India treated only 0.036 MT of its e-waste.
About 95 per cent of India’s e-waste is recycled in the informal sector and in a crude manner.
Only 20 per cent of global e-waste is recycled. The UN report indicates that due to poor extraction techniques, the total recovery rate of cobalt (the metal which is in great demand for laptop, smart phone and electric car batteries) from e-waste is only 30 per cent.
The report suggests that lowering the amount of electronics entering the waste stream and improving end-of-life handling are essential for building a more circular economy, where waste is reduced, resources are conserved and are fed back into the supply chain for new products.