India Inc Forays into Responsible E-waste Mgmt

by Sharon Lobo    Nov 12, 2009

Electronic waste (e-waste) disposal in India has been a steadily growing concern among environmentally- and socially-conscious groups. Developing countries have traditionally been the dumping ground of hazardous wastes for developed nations. Around 50,000 tonnes of e-waste comes to India annually through this exit door and makes its way to the unsafe and unauthorised dumping grounds where they are dismantled manually and unscientifically, posing grave health and environment risks.

There is an urgent need to have an efficient mechanism in place for responsible recycling of e-waste. Till recently, the threat posed to the environment by the proliferation of toxic e-waste had been on the back burner in the absence of either government authorised recycling agencies or policies to regulate it. However all this is set to change with India Inc. understanding the growing problem of e-waste in the country and acting responsibly towards it. For instance, to treat electronic waste in a safe and efficient manner, a large number of corporations in India have partnered with Attero, India’s first government recognised e-waste recycler.

Attero provides end-to-end e-waste recycling solutions enabling companies to reduce their toxic footprints. With a state-of-the-art plant in Roorkee, Uttarkhand, Attero has offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai and collection centres all over the country. Attero has not only filled the gap of a much needed environmentally responsible end-to-end recycler of e-waste but has also sparked a revolution, which will help ensure a safer planet for future generations.

Some of the companies that have partnered with Attero include the Leela and Mariott hotel group, Pepsi, Wipro, LG etc. With this move India Inc. has now joined ranks with other emerging and developed economies as an environmentally-conscious, responsible entity with regard to the mounting menace of e-waste. By acknowledging the e-waste problem and acting on it, these companies have also created a benchmark for others to follow.

Some companies have gone a step further in tackling the e-waste menace. For instance, LG not only announced Attero Recycling as its exclusive e-waste recycling partner in India but also kick-started an ‘E-waste Collection’ initiative to motivate the lay customer to adopt e-waste recycling and facilitate its responsible disposal. The company has set up 50 collection boxes at all its stores under this drive for the safe disposal and recycle of its mobile handsets.

HCL also has an e-waste management initiative, where individuals or corporates can deposit their old HCL products at any of the company’s e-waste collection centres in the country. These products are then recycled by an authorized recycling agency.

Nokia has a ‘Take Back’ campaign, which allows consumers to drop their old mobile phones and accessories regardless of any brand in any of the 1,300 bins installed at Nokia Priority Dealers and Nokia Care Centers. In return, Nokia would not only get these phones recycled but also plant a sapling for every handset dropped into these recycling bins and would also give out a surprise gift to the consumer.

Though India Inc. is doing its bit to tackle the e-waste menace, as individuals we, too, should act responsibly towards the environment by following the three R’s used in the e-waste context — Reduce (buy products that you really need), Reuse (donate your old products if you do not need them, instead of just discarding them) and Recycle (if your products are rendered useless, then give them only to authorised recycling vendors). By following these, we can make this world a much better place.