Borthakur, A. & Govind, M. (2017). How well are we managing E-waste in India: evidences from the city of Bangalore. Energy, Ecology and Environment, doi:10.1007/s40974-017-0060-0.
Abstract: As a toxic waste stream, E-waste poses serious challenges to the waste management initiatives in India. While the hazardous components of E-waste call for environment-friendly disposal mechanisms, the valuable and precious metal constituents necessitate adequate infrastructural provisions and responsible management programmes to avoid the loss of economically vital materials. Considering this duality, this paper is an attempt to evaluate the current E-waste disposal practices in India, particularly emphasizing on the city of Bangalore. Three sectors listed as 'bulk consumers' of electrical and electronic equipments under the recent E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016, namely (1) IT and electronics, (2) banking and (3) education, are considered for the study purpose. Our experience suggests that these bulk consumers adopt two different approaches to comply with the new EPR guidelines as enlisted in the E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016. These are: (1) IT companies like Wipro adopts a 'take-back system' where it is responsible for taking back the products originally produced in its various facilities from the consumers; (2) most of the banks and educational institutes take 'auction' as the measure by calling tenders from authorized E-waste recyclers with some banks embracing an 'E-waste exchange system', or complying through producer responsibility organizations (PROs) for responsible E-waste management in the city. However, we sense a lack of meticulous initiatives towards addressing the E-waste crisis largely prevalent across these sectors. We argue that ensuring responsible disposal behaviour is central in any successful E-waste management initiative. Further, we emphasize on the relative disinterestedness of the research community in addressing the issues concerning E-waste in India by carrying out a detailed bibliometric analysis on the topic. We conclude that a transparent system across these diverse sectors with adequate infrastructural provisions and administrative controls is the key to address India's E-waste apprehensions.