E-waste Management

Electronic industry is the world’s largest and innovative industry for its kind. Every year tons of electronic items get shipped over oceans. Yet, after their usage time, they become a complex waste matter. It consists of many hazardous heavy metals, acids, toxic chemicals, and non-degradable plastics.

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Many get dumped, burnt or exported to recyclers. Yet, about 75% of e-wastes are uncertain for their use or finding ways to use them. It includes refurbishment, remanufacture, reuses their parts for repair. While others are junks occupying usable space at houses, apartments, firms, and industries. Recyclers export the toxic materials as leaded glass, circuit boards, and mercury lamps. They get exported usually to China, Africa, and India.

Dismantling process takes much labor, in countries like China and some parts of India. There are tones e- wastes junked and dismantled. Dismantling is not only involved in unscrewing but also shredding, tearing and burning. The smoke and dust particle consist of carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals. which causes severe inflammations and lesions including many respiratory and skin diseases.

Sources of e-waste :

Almost every used electronic item considered as e-waste. such as discarded cell phones, cameras, CD players, TVs, radios, drillers. Also fax machines, photocopiers, printers, toners, ink cartridges, batteries, rechargeable batteries. Digital calculators and clocks CRT monitors, electric solders, computer motherboards, keyboard. Industrial and household electronic machinery such as an oven, fridge, sewing& washing machines. Fan, air-conditioner, grinder, iron, heater, military, and laboratory electronic equipment’s, etc.

Current disposal methods of e-waste:

Currently following methods to get rid of e-wastes are Incineration, Acid baths, Landfills. E-wastes ending up as landfills described as a toxic time bomb.

They may release to the environment after several years by natural means. There is a possibility of leaching of wastes such as batteries releases acids. Heavy metals mercury, nickel, and cadmium, lead, zinc, Nickel, Copper, Mercury, and cadmium. These may reach land water and reaches animals and humans. They get mixed with other freshwater sources such as rivers and streams.

Almost half the e-wastes of the US and Australia dumped as landfills. while the rest exported to Asia and Africa. Acid bath method used to extract Copper. Here the circuit board submerges into Sulfuric acid for about 12 hours to dissolve Copper. Then the solution gets boiled and precipitated. Copper Sulfate is taken and the remaining solution added with scraped particles, Copper smudges removed. Acid baths also used to dissolve the lead and in the extraction of Gold and Silver.

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Incineration also includes pyrolysis substances which are more toxic than its ordinary form. pyrolysis heating the substance in the absence of oxygen, here the burning does not occur. But the substances get converted to fumes, oils, and charcoal. Yet, in gasification limited air given to convert the substances into fume, ash, and tar. Incineration is a method of the dispersal of e-waste in China, Africa, India, and Pakistan.

When heating the plastic or PVC circuit board it releases erotic fume. They consist of carcinogens and gases such as carbon monoxide, SO2, nitrogen oxides. Smoke also consists of minor quantities of oxides of following heavy metal residues. Such as antimony, lead, thallium, arsenic, copper, manganese, mercury and nickel. They are reminder ended up in the ashes.

Safe methods for the disposal of e-waste and managing authorities:

The safest method is recycling materials including metals and reusing them. which includes an industry-wide system for the collection of e-waste. Implementing rules to follow as mandatory wearing masks and gloves and safety glass. Avoid easy methods of extraction such as incineration which results in harmful fumes. Avoid dumping and avoid using acid baths.

Implementing a proper storage system for collected and extracted e-wastes. until it reuses as products, strengthen the implementation of agreed legislation. Basel convention and implementing potent laws to prevent political invasions or pressures.

Take action against unapproved illegal e-waste collectors and dismantlers. Encourage research scientists in finding alternatives to hazardous chemicals and carcinogens. Banning electronic products with hazardous ingredients. monitoring the transportation of e-waste within the state municipal limits, ports and harbors.


It confirms that the public awareness and cooperation of manufactures are essential. For the advancement of the e-waste management system. And also it is the responsibility of governments to give enough grants and protect.

E-Wastes are a major source of heavy metals, hazardous chemicals, and carcinogens. Diseases related to skin, respiratory, intestinal, immune, and nervous systems including cancers. These can prevent proper management and disposal of e-waste.

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E-waste Management
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2019-12-10

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