Electronic waste or e-waste is one of the rapidly growing problems of the world. E-waste comprises of a multitude of components, some containing toxic substances that can have an adverse impact on human health and the environment if not handled properly. In India, e-waste management assumes greater significance not only due to the generation of its own e-waste but also because of the dumping of e-waste from developed countries. This is coupled with India's lack of appropriate infrastructure and procedures for its disposal and recycling. Corporate responsibility thus becomes even larger to contribute to efforts to manage this e-waste. This can be done through take-back policies, anti-dumping policies etc. This will prove extremely beneficial to developing countries like India, who are an e-waste dumping ground for the developed countries around the world. This article will discuss what practices various companies have employed around the world, what companies are specifically involved in managing e-waste and finally, what are the best practices that are needed to be implemented to best tackle this problem.
Keywords: e-waste, environmental hazard, occupational hazard, corporate responsibility.
Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling or disposal are also considered e-waste. Informal processing of e-waste in developing countries can lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution.
Electronic scrap components, such as CPUs, contain potentially harmful components such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retardants. Recycling and disposal of e-waste may involve significant risk to workers and communities in developed countries and great care must be taken to avoid unsafe exposure in recycling operations and leaking of materials such as heavy metals from landfills and incinerator ashes.