Originally posted on Southeast Michigan Waste:
Electronic waste or e-waste is one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world today, contributing to almost 5 per cent of the total municipal solid waste generated worldwide. Annually, India generates almost 800,000 tonnes of e-waste and is expected to grow at an average rate of 10-15 per cent, according to estimates. At present, almost 90 per cent of this waste is recycled in the informal backyard set-up with no regard for environmental safeguards. E-waste primarily consists of wastes from electrical and electronic gadgets such as personal computers, mobile phones, televisions, photocopiers, DVD players, washing machines, refrigerators and other household consumer durables, many of which contain toxic materials.
E-waste is a highly complex and challenging stream to handle, mainly due to the large variety of products included in its purview. Some of these products can contain over 1,000 different substances, ranging from some highly precious and rare metals such as gold, silver, copper, palladium, to a host of highly-toxic chemicals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium, brom-inated flame retardants (BFR), which are known to have an adverse long-term impact on human health.
Products in the e-waste stream can be categorised under two specific parameters — hazardous content and recyclability (the value of recyclable materials).