E-waste Management Habits of Indians and Their Awareness Level - Namo eWaste

Although 80 % of Indians are aware of the health hazards related to e-waste yet about 50 % of Indians hoard no-longer-in-use electronic devices in their homes according to a survey conducted by Cerebra Green and MAIT and published on the news portal, Economic Times & Indiatimes.

The survey was carried out across the Indian cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad and gathered responses from about 600 people regarding their awareness levels concerning e-waste management and its disposal. The survey also threw some light on the disposal practices followed by these people with the reasons behind the same.

Around 68 % of the respondents did not regard local waste collectors as an alternative for disposing of their e-waste. Many responded by saying that there is no local waste collector in their area for e-waste. Therefore, about 90 % of the respondents relied on online exchange programs and local retailers to dispose of their e-waste; abiding by the guidelines for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

The Indian industries contribute to 70 % of the e-waste generated in India and households contribute to about 15 % of the e-waste. The remaining is counted as the end of shelf-life electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). The generation of e-waste in India had touched 3 million tonnes in 2018. It is worth noting that India is one of the countries that have the fastest growing fastest-growing consumer of electronic devices.

Important Highlights from the survey:

·        About 80% of the respondents have knowledge regarding e-waste.

·        50% of the respondents hoarded a minimum of 2 or more no-longer-in-use electronic items at home. About 30% hoarded 3-4 electronic items that should have been discarded and 20% of the respondents hoarded over 5 defunct devices.

·        Almost 50% of the respondents kept in their houses old electronic devices that were over 5 years old. Around 28% kept 3-4 years old electronic devices while about 23% were using two years or less old devices.

·        72% of the respondents shared that the e-waste gathered in their area did not ask for e-waste from them.

·        68% of the respondents shared that they did not give their e-waste to the local waste aggregator while 32% of the respondents shared that they did give their e-waste to the local collector.

·        About 82% of the respondents said that they never handed over their refrigerator, microwave or air conditioner, etc. to a local waste collector while 18% gave a positive reply to the same.

·        47% of the respondents were making the use of their e-waste in online exchange programs, while they purchased a new one. 43% gave their e-waste to the local electronic retailers and 10% used it at the electronic brand outlets

·        40% of the respondents had been using more than a five-year-old refrigerator, 37% were still having a two to five years old fridge.

·        82% were interested in handing over their e-waste to unauthorized/authorized recyclers for free if they made sure to manage the e-waste properly without causing any environmental pollution.

·        81% of the respondents understood about the dangerous fractions present in e-waste that require exceptional treatment for their safe disposal. However, 19% of the respondents did not know about this fact.