E waste Management – Solutions and Way Ahead Course: Management Information Systems Instructor: Pritwis Mukherjee Harsh Bansal
Vinod Gupta School Of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Abstract: With rampant growth of electronic goods and short life cycle of the goods e-waste management has become one of big issues being facedby countries today. It has been estimated that around 25 million tons of e-waste is generated each year and is growing by 4-5 % each year. In this paper I have tried to analyze different types of e-waste generatedby industries across different countries. Various possible solutions likerecycle and efficient disposal mechanisms have been looked upon. It has been also been discussed how collaborations with big organizations and Public-Private partnerships can be achieved in a mutually beneficial way to help society and generate profits.
Sustainable development is one of the biggest issues faced by the world today.
development sustainable innovation is required. 3R Principle – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is very important is ensuring sustainable development. Recycling reduces waste and reduces consumption of natural resources and improves energy efficiency. Apart from other issues like global warming one of the biggest issues faced by the world today is rampant growth of e-waste. The electronic industry is the one of world’s largest and fastest growing manufacturing industry. It has revolutionized the whole world and its presence can be felt in the life of each and every human being. Most of the human beings use at least one of the electro personal computers, refrigerators, printers, Televisions, Toys etc. This rampant growth has resulted in pilling up of tons of Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) or e-waste. It has been estimated that around 50 million tons of e-waste is generated each year. The problem of e-waste has been exaggerated by the shortening life cycle of electronic products. Informal or no e waste management has a large number of ramifications. Some of them are:
• • •
Leakage of toxic materials like mercury, cadmium, beryllium, and flame retardants. Loss of high value materials like palladium, gold, copper etc. Leakage of toxic gases in the environment. Health hazards caused due to improper treatment of e-waste in the informal industry especially in the developing countries.
For example mobile phones contain more than 40 elements like cobalt. Frame work which address process selection. It also contains precious metals like silver. With the huge growth in telecom sector and sky rocketing growth of mobile phones this offers a huge potential for reprocessing the metals present.
• • • Main steps involved in WEEE management. antimony. tin and indium. copper. Issue to be addressed. palladium and gold.
Figure 1: Material content mobile phones devices Source: Umicore 2008
Negligent transfer of obsolete goods from developed countries to under developed countries.1 Need for formal WEEE management
Two major factors which drive WEEE management are recovery of precious metals and saving environment from numerous environmental hazards. Major elements present in mobile phone are shown in figure 1.
Fundamentals of WEEE recycling: The basic issues involved in e-waste management are:
• Need for formal WEEE management. Apart from metals some ceramic and plastics can also be processed.
The estimated CO2 generated by mining of major metals used in EEE is shown in figure 2. Source: UNEP step report
. This has put a great pressure on the limited some of some materials. Hence. Now electronic goods account for a significant consumption of a large variety of metals and the price increase of several of metals have been in direct relation to growth in the electronic industry.
Second major benefit from formal WEEE management is protection of environment. Mining of metals used in electric and electronic equipment industry have a significant environmental impact. electronic goods manufacturing has surmounted almost all other manufacturing industries.
Figure 2: Co2 emitted in production of various metals used in EEE. LCD also have a huge amount of similar materials as well as iron content. cameras.Similarly a large number of materials are used in laptops and Personal Computers which are also growing exponentially. The monetary value of important equipment metals in electronic industry has reached 45 billion dollars at 2007 levels. Due to short product life cycle of electronic goods. televisions. It generates a large amount of CO2 and puts a large strain on limited land and water resources. formal WEEE management offers a viable and economical feasible business opportunity. Other equipments like toys.
Important issues which can be addressed using efficient and regulated e-waste management are:
. fluorinated cooling fluids. dioxins formed by inappropriate smelting of plastics) Tertiary emissions: Toxic substances that are used during recycling process (e.Recycling metals generates significantly less amount of CO2 and have other considerable benefits like optimum usage of water etc.g.
2. Improper discarding results in emissions of hazardous gases and has negative impact on environment. cyanide and mercury for gold amalgamation).).
2. Toxic gases have been categorized into three categories: • Primary emissions: Hazardous substances that present in electronic waste (e.2 Main steps involved in WEEE management. 3.arsenic etc. Hence. Dismantling and Pre-processing: It includes separating the reusable materials from the waste and
separating the toxic waste for proper disposal.
Figure 3: Recycling Chain. • • Secondary emissions: Various toxic materials produced as the result of improper treatment of ewaste (e. lead5. polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Hence an efficient and proper e-waste management process is required.3 Issue to be addressed. Source: UNEP step report
The recycling process majorly consists of three main steps: 1.
2. efficient collection mechanism should be in place covering major markets across geographies. polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).g. Collection – Collection plays a very important role as different Electrical and Electronic Equipments consist of different metals required. End Processing: It includes processing the separated material and treating it in a appropriate fashion to extract desired material and disposing waste in a environment friendly fashion.g mercury.
But the major problem is the lack of proper technology.• • • • •
Reduce the toxic emissions.
3. Creating public awareness and highlighting the potential advantages. Ensure proper disposal of hazardous and toxic substances.4 Frame work
Figure 4: Frame work E-waste management. Also ensuring the economic feasibility of the process.
Disposal of waste and shipping the reprocessed material to appropriate industries. Recovery of valuable materials. Current Status and upcoming technologies for e-waste management:
Presently most of the e-waste management is processed under informal sector and lacks a proper formal mechanism. Source: electronic waste management in India–issues and strategies kurian joseph Framework in a recycle process majorly includes. • • Collection centers with proper regulation of imports to desired recycling centers. Most of the e-waste from developed countries is being shipped to developing countries and some small business units have come up in these developing countries. Upcoming technologies can be classified into two parts: 3. Provide job opportunities. Create environment friendly and economically friendly business.1 Preprocessing Technologies
. Recycling centers with processes in place ensuring safety of environment and of workers.
diamond wire/saw fluidized bed cleaning system etc.Shredding and separation: Major technologies for shredding and separation are magnetic belts and magnetic current separators.
. They can be majorly classified as:
Pyrometallurgy: In this waste is exposed to high temperature in a furnace or a smelter and metals are separated from impurities.V/monitor using technologies like laser cutting. Hydrometallurgy: It uses caustic or strong acidic solution to selectively dissolve and precipitate metals. Apart from this magnetic induction and other physical properties can also be used.
Figure 5 : Magnetic separator Source: tradekorea. For ICT appliances it should be ensured that confidential data is destroyed using shredding.2 End-processing Technologies Different materials segregated using preprocessing technologies have different end processing technologies for extracting the useful metals. For devices like monitors and TVs containing CRTs the process is first removal of CRT from T.com
3. hot wire cutting. It should be ensured that in the case of C&F appliances shredding happens in a closed container. Manual dismantling using
electric or pneumatic screwdrivers followed by mechanical dismantling is very effective. For ICT appliances multi stage shredding and separation is effective.
filters and catalytic decompositions are used. Injected air and fuel results in rapid chemical reactions. enriched air and fuel are injected. At around 1200oC coke.•
Electrometallurgy: It uses electric currents to separate metals from impurities.99% pure copper.
Apart from these Biometallurgical processes are in incubation stage and are not used in the industry. precious metals dissolves in the copper. Another important aspect is the proper disposal of dioxins and other acidic gases produced during pyrometallurgy. Precious metals like gold.e. It consists of majorly two operations i. The slag is certified building material and is put to use. the granulated copper is treated with sulfuric acid. Integrated smelting and refining are used due to complex nature of the material. This results in copper sulphate solution and precious metals as concentrated residue. First step is smelting and it uses IsaSmelt submerged lance combustion technology with proper off gas emission control system. extraction of precious metals and base metals. while other are dissolved in lead slag.
. For this suitable off-gas cleaning systems like adiabatic coolers.99% purity. At leach-electrowinning plant. silver etc are obtained to 99. The complete smelting and refining process has been depicted in the following figure. After smelting copper is treated in electro-winning plant and lead slag is treated in blast furnance. Copper sulphate solution is treated in elsctrowinning plant which results in 99. The precious metals residue is refined at the precious metals refinery.
Source: Umicore 4. It is the need of the hour as we have limited resources and it is very difficult to sustain without efficient usage of resources. This results in economically feasible business opportunity by recycling the metals especially in the present scenario in which metal prices have gone up significantly. Various electrical and electronic equipments containing precious metals can be recycled and metals can be extracted. • More gold can be found in one ton of e-waste then in one ton of a gold rock. E-waste management is also a step in this direction. Economic Potential Sustainable innovation and green technology are two emerging fields with huge potential in upcoming future.
. It is not only very important for environment but also offers a very promising business opportunity. Major factors which highlight the economic potential are: • Electronic goods use a vast amount of metals. In future with rising electronic production and reducing product life cycle e-waste will exponentially increase.Figure 6: Integrated smelting and refining process.
but there are several open areas which need to be addressed. Support of local and national governments. But after Basel convention and protest by various this has reduced. Some of the steps taken by government to improve awareness about potential threats of e-waste are: • A National Working Group has been constituted for formulating a strategy for Electronic waste management and will look after all pertinent issues. Transfer of technology from developed to developing countries. E-waste will increase in upcoming future with huge consumption potential of developing countries like India and China.
As this issue focuses on environment a large amount of incentives and tax rebates are available from governments of various countries. Majority of recycling in India is still done by the informal sector. Decentralized approach and easily scalable with low amount of investment. Indian Scenario India is one of the fastest growing markets for electronic goods.•
E-waste can be re-located from developing to developing and under developed countries as there is still huge amount of gap between technologies used in developing and under-developed countries.
Once infrastructure in place it can be leveraged to handle large amount of e-waste.
5. Despite of that India lacks proper laws or guidelines governing electronic waste management.
. Geographically flexible and can be replicated at other locations. Lack of stringent guidelines on disposal of e-waste Support from corporate sector with increasing awareness. Mobile phones and Laptops are expected to drive future growth. Also technological and financial help can be sought from government. Under Hazardous waste rules (1989) electronic waste is not treated as toxic until and unless it is proved of containing certain toxic substances.
SWOT analysis of the potential business plan is: Strengths: • • Weakness: • • • • • • • • Lack of guidance from governments regarding compliance mechanisms. Though PCBs and CRTs most of the time exceed these parameters. India is one of the destinations where e-waste arrives from various developed countries and is treated. Lack of awareness among retail consumers of electronic goods. Cheaper cost of recycling in informal sectors.
In India and other developing countries these kind of regulations with responsibility of each and every stake holders should be enforced.
Some of the regulatory models in place in the developed nations are shown in below figure. Umicore. UNEP.•
Central Pollution Control Board has initiated a rapid assessment plan for electronic waste generated in major metropolitan cities.
. Current Players In the current scenario one of the major competitors is the informal sector. Apart from these companies there a lot of small start-up companies which have come up in the developing countries. They have huge capacities and presence in varied geographies. Central Pollution Control Board The emphasis is on collective responsibility of government.
Figure 7: Regulatory models.
Projects showing demonstration have been set up by the Department of Information Technology for recovery of copper from Printed Circuit Boards. 6. Informal sector has the cost advantage as it doesn’t follow and rules and regulations. producers and E-waste management companies. Apart from informal sectors major global competitors are like industry pioneers Sims Recycling Solutions. Due to low awareness in retail households a lot of electronic waste is reaching informal sector resulting in harm to the environment and people involved in treating electronic waste. Source: Business Press.
Developed countries are reluctant to share the technologies.7. This has resulted in stagnation of the technology used in e-waste management.
. Challenges • • Lack of suitable rules and regulations at national and international level that can address the problem of disposal of e-waste. Lack of a adequate B2B platform where companies can engage in business transactions. Lack of public private partnerships to address the problem of electronic waste management.
No major innovations hubs and centers of excellence in developing countries addressing the issue of electronic waste management. Lack of awareness among the corporate and the retail households related to hazards of unsafe disposal of e-waste management.
• • •
Hurdles involved in the transfer of technology from developed countries to developing countries.
Major Although awareness and readiness for implementing improvements is increasing rapidly. • The existing e waste recycling systems are purely business-driven that have come about without any government intervention. • Only a fraction of the e waste (estimated 10%) finds its way to recyclers due to absence of an efficient take back scheme for consumers.
. These include • The lack of reliable data that poses a challenge to policy makers wishing to design an e-waste management strategy and to an industry wishing to make rational investment decisions. the major obstacles to manage the e wastes safely and effectively remain. Any development in these e waste sectors will have to be built on the existing set-up as the waste collection and pre-processing can be handled efficiently by the informal sector. • The lack of a safe e waste recycling infrastructure in the formal sector and thus reliance on the capacities of the informal sector pose severe risks to the environment and human health. at the same time offer numerous job opportunities.