I'm currently live blogging CII's Connect2009 conference from Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai. Connect 2009 is a premier ICT event hosted by CII, supported by Govt of Tamil Nadu and Ministry of IT, Govt of India. As an official blogger, my task is mainly to listen to the talks given by experts, make quick notes and publish a blog post giving summary of their talk, so that those who couldn't attend the event will stay updated. One particular talk I just heard sometime back was very informative, so I though I'll share with my regular blog readers. Rest of the posts are available in Connect2009 official blog.
Below are the excerpts from a talk given by Ram Ramachandran, MD, TES-AMM India. Topic of discussion was Green IT.
There’s a perception that lots of money to be made in e-waste (electronic waste), while it is not so. Of the 3.36 lakh ton e waste generated in India last year (most of which came from China and other countries) only 19k ton recycled- that’s just 5%. Recycling process typically involves dismantling the unit, Recover plastics and metals, and send for further processing (to extract precious metals from PCB etc)
90% of intrinsic value of a scrap lies in PCB. Globally PCB is a 50 billion dollar industry-though they meet all regulations set by govt agencies and electronic goods manufacturers, very little consideration is given to recycling. Precious metals like gold, found in house hold applications and other equipment, is classified into Low grade, medium grade and high grade. High grade gold is not available in India. Anyone setting up recycling unit finds it difficult to sustain unless he has access to high grade gold or can source scraps with other precious metals. This makes the recycling business very challenging. Also high grade gold shouldn’t be mixed with low grade gold, else the yield will be very low.
In Europe, national laws exist to manage e-waste. Schemes exist wherein Producers and manufactures retake the product. Cost of recycling included in cost of product. However loopholes in the law are exploited often.( for example PCB has only 2% lead-which is lower than the limit set for other products, hence it escapes the ban) Of the 1.2 million ton e-waste was collected, about 40% was exported- mostly to countries like India.
USA: Recently 43 companies were warned for unsafe recycling practices, but no action taken. A draft bill was presented to fund R&D on e waste.
Japan has a law -home appliance recycling law- consumer pays recycling cost when he disposes the waste.
In India, Every gram of e waste is sold, all go on bidding war to dispose e waste. PSUs auction e waste. Informal buyers pay higher price as they don’t pay tax or bother to follow any regulation. However there have been no efforts to curb informal operators. Scrutiny is not applied to informal sector due to lack of willpower and manpower. Export requires special license, and overall, eWaste is not managed efficiently.
What needs to be done?
1 Efficient and effective legislation
2 Pragmatic import and export policy
3 Companies should follow ethical practices while disposing waste, not just look for scrap value.
4 Support from Government like tax exceptions
Possible minor errors in interpretation, if any, is regretted. Actual title was different (Grow from Green-E waste etc), edited by me. Photo from an email forward.