Apr 28, 2012 at 11:23am IST

Firms need to handle e-waste recycling with care

BHUBANESWAR: With the e-waste Management & Handling Rules, 2011 coming into effect from May 1, the Odisha Government departments as well as educational institutions are going to be the key for it is how they respond to the new norms which will decide its success.
The new rules apply to every producer, consumer and bulk consumer involved in manufacture, sale and purchase and processing of electronic equipment or components.
Before the norms get operational, the Pollution Control Board (PCB) on Friday hosted a workshop where stakeholders took part.
Forest and Environment Minister Debi Prasad Mishra and Development Commissioner  R N Senapati spoke about the need to address the e-waste problem, which will need increasing attention in the future.
Though there has been no concrete study on e-waste generation in the State, Odisha produces about 3,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic waste that would need to be collected and disposed of annually. Of the 3,000 tonnes, Bhubaneswar alone generates close to 1,000 tonnes. “It is the Government buildings, departments, PSUs and of course, the large number of educational institutions which generate most of the waste. That is the reason Bhubaneswar accounts for the lion’s share,” Member-Secretary of Odisha Pollution Control Board Sidhanta Das said.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest had given the producers of electrical and electronic equipment a buffer of one year to set up their recycling and collection centres which comes to an end on May 1.
In Odisha, Green Vortex has been authorised to set up a collection centre. In fact, it was the only firm that had applied for the project in the State and has now set up a unit at Mancheswar. Firms with necessary expertise can collect and subsequently recycle and dispose of e- waste, but would need authorisation from the PCB, Das said.
The PCB is hopeful that more and more firms would come forward once the implementation goes down well. With advanced recycling techniques, 95 to 99 per cent success can be achieved.
Electronic products often contain hazardous and toxic materials that pose environmental risks if they are land-filled or incinerated.
Televisions, video and computer monitor use cathode ray tubes (CRTs), which have significant amounts of lead.
Printed circuit boards contain primarily plastic and copper, and most have small amounts of chromium, lead solder, nickel, and zinc. In addition, many electronic products have batteries that often contain nickel, cadmium and other heavy metals.
Relays and switches in electronics, especially older ones, contain mercury. Also, capacitors in some types of older and larger equipment that is now entering the waste stream may contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).