Less than five per cent of India's total electronic waste (e-waste) gets recycled due to absence of proper infrastructure, legislation and framework, industry body Assocham said today.
In its analysis on the World Environment Day, it said that India, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of about 20%, annually generates over 4.4 lakh tonnes of e-waste.
Almost half of all unused and end-of-life electronic products lie idle in landfills, junkyards and warehouses, it said.
Computer equipment accounts for almost 68% of e-waste material followed by telecommunication equipment (12%), electrical equipment (eight) and medical equipment (seven). Other equipment, including household e-crap account for the remaining five per cent, it said.
"Over 90% of e-waste generated in India is managed by the unorganised sector and scrap dealers in this market dismantle the disposed products instead of recycling it," Assocham General Secretary D S Rawat said, while releasing the findings of the chamber's analysis.
However most of these products can be recycled, refurbished and redeployed going down the value chain and reused by a bit of reconstruction process, reducing overall impact on the environment, he said.
Though the organised sector accounts for less than 10% of the recycling business, there is huge scope for growth as the recyclers and suppliers are engaging with IT giants and other enterprises to dispose e-devices efficiently, he said.
Assocham suggested that used computers and discarded consumer durables be collected and donated to schools and orphanages run by non-profit organisations and other agencies involved in social cause through refurbishment.
"Besides, E-recyclers must use the platform of industry bodies like Assocham to avoid bottlenecks in building an effective reverse supply chain for e-waste and together support the government to promote advanced e-waste collection methods and create awareness amid consumers vis-à-vis environmental impact of e-waste," he said.
Assocham requested the government to collaborate with industry through the chambers to create social consciousness amid consumers to take care of the environment, thereby ensuring safe management of e-waste.
"Industry and government promoting such a campaign together would certainly add legitimacy to the industry’s commitment towards awakening the consumers," he said.
Releasing its green-initiatives advisory, Assocham urged industry leaders to improve environmental sustainability by extracting full functional value from their e-assets by getting them recycled instead of discarding them well ahead of their useful life in favour of more sophisticated electronic devices.