In India, mobile phones, computers, laptops, and other electronic products are in billions for sale every year, and when these become obsolete, or goes out of fashion, most consumers treat them as useless and prefer to dump. Such frequent dumping is assisted by our traditional waste mobilizer what we generally call them “kabadiwalas” they pick up the electronics from houses and channelize it for further processing etc. Last year, says UNU, that e-waste amounted to more than 40 million tons worldwide. In India 2.7 MT e-waste was generated out of this only 5% enters in to the formal recycling system rest goes to informal hands. Due to lack of proper collection infrastructure, and recycling facilities, the recycling rate is for from expected to meet. Formal Recycling can lower the dangerous effects due to e-waste.

Hazardous chemicals associated with electronics include polyvinyl chlorides, mercury, cadmium, chromium, and lead, just to name a few. So the toxicity of e-waste is one of the biggest concerns and when e-waste byproducts leach into ground water, are burned, or get mishandled during recycling, bad things can happen. Health problems associated with such toxins include impaired mental development, cancer, and damage to the lungs, liver, and kidneys.
According to the Toxics Link, Delhi based NGO, only 5% to 8% of e-waste, in general, gets recycled. Recycling of electronics is a difficult task for the most of the recyclers in India due to unavailability of proper supply of e-waste to run the plant. Mr. Prateek Goel founder and chief executive officer of ZeroWaste Recycling Pvt. Limited, says, “Now a days the majority of e-waste is manually separated, dismantled, and then sent for further processing. Use of separators, magnets, and other techniques that target plastics, copper, precious metals, steel, and aluminum is how we recycle about 99.9% of the materials the company accepts.” But the threshold amount of the e-waste needed to run the machine is the biggest challenge in operating a recycling plant.
In India collection system is strongly dominated by the traditional market of kabadiwalas, who are champion in informal recycling, the low operating cost, negligence to laws and occupational safety measures makes them more viable than formal recycling. Possible solution for e-waste recycling would be the involvement of consumer in the loop of collection to recycling. The consumer in India is willing to get back cash in return of their electronics products. In other countries like Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, and South Korea, Electronic items at retail is marked with a creation to disposal price tag. This additional disposal fee is paid at the point-of-purchase by the consumer to help cover the cost of proper disposal of the item once the purchaser no longer wants it. But in India recycling fees to impose on consumers is not justified, reason being since the majority of population unaware the chemicals and toxic elements present inside the electronics and in absence of that charging the recycling fees for recovery of resources from waste, so cannot be charged directly. Recycling must not be taken by Government as burden to resolve rather viewed as opportunity for job creations, along with mitigation of e-waste problems.
In India the proposed E-Waste Rules, draft 2015 has also included the cost internalization system (Deposit fund scheme) but the there is no lucidity, how the consumers will get paid once he/she returns the electronics. DFS is only to ignite the consumers to return their electronics but over all problems of the recycling nowhere seems to be solved by such model. Recycling fund should be setup by the central government and such fund may be linked with startup fund to attract the recycling entrepreneur. The process of establishment of recycling unit should be spurring with high priority in the respective affected states. In addition success also lies in fact that a recycling law must require retailers and manufacturers to play a role in recycling their old products. Producer Responsibility and cost internalization is another approach that is working in other countries and hope will enhance the rate of recycling in India.
Overturn menace due to toxicity of e-waste is primary objective of Electronic Waste Association of India (EWAIN) which promotes e-green practices and responsible recycling in the electronics industry. Apart EWAIN promotes the common goal recognized by its members from time to time. According to Mr. Hariom Dubey, General Secretary of the EWAIN, “Our focus is on the toxic chemicals in manufacturing consumer electronics, and to push companies to design electronics with recycling in mind. If small changes, like these, are made a lot of the e-waste problems can be reduced.” He adds that recycling industries in India needs the governmental support as under e-waste rules many things are mandated to the recyclers and other stakeholders but all need well defined infrastructure, recycling policies above all exclusive financial aid to those who are in recycling sectors.
EWAIN is a juncture of the stakeholders that will promote the sustainability prospects of our modern electronic based society, advocating for availability of better technology for recycling and compliance of e-waste laws. Organising the regular discussion so as to environmental problems and threat to human beings due to the increasing e-waste amount can be resolved, for this to happen we all together have to come forward and accord the responsibilities of citizenship as accepting the liabilities for toxicities we are cause.