E-waste Recycling in India – Managing a Growing Crisis

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Technology has become an essential part of our lives. We love to upgrade ourselves; whether it’s the latest smartphone or a laptop, we will not rest in peace until we possess the best possible gadgets available in the market.

No doubt our lives have become a lot easier, but do you wonder what happens to your old gadgets that are conveniently dumped at the nearest garbage pile? How are they recycled or disposed off? Well, they eventually become ‘electronic waste’ or ‘E-waste’ or ‘E-scrap’.

E-waste refers to any electronic goods that have become either obsolete or no longer function. In today’s times, it has become a luxury to own more than one television set or smartphone. Besides this, several corporate companies worldwide throw away huge quantities of old equipment and replace them with new ones, adding to the e-waste menace.

How can a single mobile phone become a threat to the planet that is fighting a losing battle against global warming? Sadly, just a tiny amount of the Ewaste generated by us is recycled. Hence, these waste materials are hard to jettison as it can lead to serious health and environmental issues. Many electronic goods such as cathode ray tube TV sets, old computers, mobile phones contain toxic elements such as beryllium, lead, cadmium, etc. in large amounts that pose serious health risks.

Infographic provided by Sellgpu.com

Further, the recycling process of electronic waste is quite hazardous. Printed circuit boards are scrapped by acid bath and de-soldering. Plastics used to make keyboards and other components are outmoded by chemical stripping using nitric and hydrochloric acid. Copper wires used in computers are burnt and stripped in the open to obtain copper, thus resulting in severe air pollution.

A report by the Comptroller & Auditor General found that 400,000 tons of electronic waste is generated in India every year. The Central Pollution Control Board estimates that around 0.5 metric tons of e-waste is generated every day. The top ten e-waste producing states of India are – Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.

Among the metro cities, Mumbai ranks first followed by Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. At present, India and China have become the largest global dumpsters for e-waste due to low processing costs and unorganized working conditions.

However, every cloud has a silver lining. Experts believe if e-waste is handled properly, it can be used as raw materials for other products. Metals like iron, copper, palladium, gold and silver can be extracted, while non-metals like glass and plastic can also be recycled. Over the last 10 years, many Indian companies have stepped forward to tackle this problem.

Companies doing E-waste recycling in India

Attero Recycling e-waste - Business Today
Attero Recycling e-waste – Business Today

Some of the well-known e-waste recycling companies in India are listed below:

  • Attero, a Roorkee-based e-waste management company, handles almost 500 tonnes of e-waste per month. Founded by Rohan and Nitin Gupta in 2007, the company currently provides its service to nearly 100 cities across 22 states in the country. India’s electronic industry is growing by 20% annually and one can expect 800,000 tons of e-waste generated every by 2020.
  • Bangalore-based E-Parisaraa Pvt Ltd is India’s first government authorized electronic waste recycle company. Started in 2005, it extracts waste such as gold and silver and converts them into industrial raw materials.
  • Delhi-based Karma Recycling has launched an e-portal to offer a simple online electronics trade-in service, which makes it easy for commoners to resell or recycle their used electronic devices. Karma Recycling is also a government-authorized electronic waste collector and segregator that puts efforts on systematic electronics reuse and responsible recycling.

While the government needs to take steps in regulating laws, we citizens have to do our part in sending our old electronic goods for recycling. Companies like Nokia have ensured their devices be returned after usage for their recycle. Such ingenious steps should be taken by the manufacturing companies, which is not only favorable to the environment but also profitable to the company as well.

E-waste recycling in India is a serious issue to be worked upon. However busy our lives have become, we can help by following the 3R mantra to address this issue –

Reduce, Return and Recycle

  • Reduce: Avoid buying products that are of little importance in our daily life. Avoid purchasing gadgets as a status symbol.
  • Return: When bored with your old phone, do not throw it; instead return it to its manufacturer. Nokia, Apple and Dell are few such brands that ensure their old products are returned after use for recycling. If there is no recycling company in your vicinity, try donating or selling online.
  • Recycle: Scrap that are usually buried or incinerated, can be directed to reprocessing centers for conversion into raw materials that can help conserve finite natural resources, including trees for paper pulp, oil and natural gas for the production of plastics and polymers and many more.

CPCB has created a detailed list of companies engaged in safe and proper disposal of e-waste in India along with their addresses. Sadly, a major part of the world’s population still remains unaware of e-waste’s toxicity that is slowly plaguing our lives. We need to act fast to prevent this dangerous menace.

Ecoideaz is hell bent on proving that sensible green ideas do emerge from India. It is eager to build a comprehensive portfolio of all eco-friendly ideas developed in India and create a repository for innovative green ideas both from the investor and consumer perspective.


  1. today un employment breaks the nation why the idiotic leaders are not plaing these jobs to educated individuals as small scale industries ,because it seems scrap waste to country i feel money wealth

  2. Reading this in 2019 when India has recently banned import of international waste for recycling. This is indeed a great set of data points. Thanks.

    • Hi Abhishek,
      I am surprised to know that Indian govt has banned waste plastic imports. This is great news since we ourselves are not managing with our plastic waste crisis, importing it from is terrible!

      • Yes, Indeed. The figures of annual waste collection and disposal for this year are expected to be better than the past years. But a major challenge is actually curbing our own e-waste which noone is still sure would be done succesfully. Hoping for the best though.

  3. If you’re looking to dispose E-waste in E-Waste Collection Centre In Bangalore or Near me, The best place to drop or sell your e waste at e waste collection centre at J. P. Nagar, Bengaluru, and get cash for your E waste.

  4. If you’re looking to dispose E-waste in E-Waste Collection Centre In Bangalore or Near me, The best place to drop or sell your e waste at e waste collection centre at J. P. Nagar, Bengaluru, and get cash for your E waste.

    visit http://www.zolopik.com to place a request online

  5. I am wondering how the collection center deals with the E-waste. I believe some of them can be re-used. My former employer BuySellRam.com also buys computer components out of the USA.


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