E waste Current Affairs

Indian origin scientist develops world’s first microfactory for e-waste

IIT-trained Australian scientist of Indian origin Veena Sahajwalla has launched world’s first microfactory that can transform components from electronic waste items into valuable materials for re-use.

Key Facts

The e-waste microfactory uses green manufacturing technologies to turn many types of consumer waste such as glass, plastic and timber into commercial materials and products. It is modular micro factory that can operate on site as small as 50 square metres and can be located wherever waste may be stockpiled. It has one or series of small machines and devices that uses patented technology to perform one or more functions in the reforming of waste products into new and usable resources.

Working: The e-waste microfactory has number of small modules for processing e-waste and fits into small site. The discarded devices are first placed into module to break them down. The next module involves special robot for identification of useful parts. Another module then involves using small furnace which transforms these parts into valuable materials by using precisely controlled temperature process developed via extensive research.

Use of e-waste: These transformed materials from the micro-factory includes metal alloys and range of micromaterials. These can be used in industrial-grade ceramics and specific quality plastics from computers, printers and other discarded sources can be used to produce filaments suitable for 3D-printing applications. The metal alloys can be used as metal components for new or existing manufacturing processes, she said.

Significance

The e-waste microfactory has the potential to reduce the rapidly growing problem of vast amounts of e-waste causing environmental harm and going into landfill. It offers a cost-effective solution to one of the greatest environmental challenges of our age. The microfactory presents solution to burning and burying waste items that contain valuable materials that can be transformed into value-added substances and products to meet existing and new industry and consumer demands

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India fifth largest producer of e-waste: Assocham-KPMG Study

As per recent study conducted by Assocham-KPMG, India has emerged as the world’s fifth largest electronic waste (e-waste) producer.

India discards roughly 18.5 lakh tonnes of e-waste each year and telecom equipment alone accounts for 12% of it.

Key facts

  • The study has highlighted the concern of rising levels of e-waste generation in India in recent years.
  • India being world’s second largest mobile market with 1.03 billion subscribers, nearly 25% of it end up in e-waste annually.
  • The unorganised sector in India is estimated to handle around 95% of the e-waste produced in the country.
  • The study has suggested that e-waste collection targets implemented in a phased manner under the current policy should set lower and practically achievable target limits.
  • Also, detailed implementation procedures for collection of e-waste from the market need should be prescribed and followed.

Current Policy on e-waste management

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has notified e-waste management rules, 2016.
  • These rules for the first time have time covered under extended producers’ responsibility (EPR) of electronics producers.
  • It has prescribed a waste collection target of 305 e-waste generated under EPR for the first two years (till 2016) and it will progressively go up to 70% in the seventh year of the rule.
  • These rules also have prescribed stringent financial penalties for non-compliance.

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