International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, Volume 5, Issue 7, July-2014 578

ISSN 2229-5518

Model for developing efficient E-waste recycling system in India

Amanjot Singh

AbstractElectrical and Electronics industry is one of the fastest growing industry at the present time. Where large scale industrialization and development is not possible without the availability of these electrical and electronics equipments (EEE) ,they serve a lot in daily life. This ever increasing demand for electronic equip- ments with the presence of hazardous materials in them makes it an issue of concern and look for e-waste recycling after their end of life. The paper underlines the presence of formal and informal sectors of e-waste recycling in India. The paper highlights the existence of inefficiency in the present formal and informal recycling systems. Formal sector is facing challenges in collection of E-waste and high cost of transportation of waste to processing units. An entry survey results conducted to seek solutions and enhance collection are also presented in the paper. System modeling based on k-means clustering algorithm comprising of collection ,processing and financial models as a great tool is emphasized for the development of an efficient e-waste recycling system in India.

Index TermsEEE, EPR ,E-Waste, K-Means, Management, Recycling, WEEE.


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Electronic waste or e-scrap may be defined as discarded com- puters, office electronic equipment, entertainment devices, mobile phones ,television sets and refrigerators. Large scale consumption of these devices and changing technology brings end to their life and makes them obsolete ,thus increasing waste stream. As per the Moore’s law after every 2 years tran- sistor count per unit chip space doubles of itself which cuts short the probability of repair and recycling [1]. Furthermore, the post consumptive remains of these electronic and electrical products contain toxic elements like mercury, cadmium, lead
,nickel, polyvinyl chloride , BFRs which leads to various dis- eases of the skin and decrease nerve conduction velocity, lung cancer, kidney damage, pulmonary emphysema and bone dis- eases and many more [2]. E-waste is not hazardous if it is stocked in safe storage or recycled by scientific methods and transported from one place to the other in an organized and environment friendly manner. On the other hand, e-waste can prove to be hazardous if recycled in informal manner using primitive methods [3]. Thus ,it becomes necessary to look for solutions that provide proper end of life management to these obsolete turned devices. Table 1 depicts the various kinds of materials found in e-waste along with their percentage.
Table 1. Materials found in waste electronic equipments [4]


E-waste stream is growing at an exponential rate because of increase in spending and utilization of electronic products everywhere in the world. Electronic products turn obsolete at a very young age with the rapid advancement in the market. Today’s best product cannot regain its best title after some pe- riod of time leading to e-waste growth. E-Waste in India is growing at over 500% every year and less than 5% of it is be- ing recycled properly [5]. MAIT studies reveal that India is expected to generate about 1.5 lakh tonne of wastage from the use of electronics every year by 2020 [6].Presently, e-waste is growing at the fastest rate in solid waste as compared with other types of waste. About 3 to 5 percent of the solid waste is comprised of e-waste and this share is growing at a rate of 3 times every year [7].Thus , e-waste is turning menace to biotic life. The toxic elements like mercury, cadmium, lead ,nickel, polyvinyl chloride , BFRs present in the e-waste are creeping slowly and steadily inside the environment and making it sick. Entering the soil and leading to soil degradation by eating all the soil nutrients, these hazardous elements are making soil infertile and anemic. Suspending themselves in the air, their toxicity is making breathing for the biotic life a cause of vari- ous health issues. Flowing with the groundwater and subse- quently mixing with rivers and seas, marine life is being dam- aged . Directly or indirectly, the biotic life comprising of bio diverse natural vegetation, human population and animal husbandry is suffering the hazardous influences. A study re- veals that high concentration and profiles of polychlorinated dioxins and furans are present in e-waste open burning and treatment sites which pose a great threat to the environment [8].


E-waste recycling aims at making reuse and recovery of com- ponents and precious elements with the help of series of pro- cesses and machinery in recycling plants. Recycling Solutions provide huge monetary returns if seen as a business model. E-

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waste Recycling can be categorized into two categories de- pending upon the level of formalization.


The formal recycling needs the joint efforts of all the stake- holders covering producers ,consumers, bulk consumers so that an environment friendly recycling be carried out [9] .Such a kind of recycling involves use of proper tools, equipments
,machinery which without damaging health of labor results in efficient end of life management. Life cycle of the electronic and electrical equipments starting from the birth at manufac- turing sector reaches the consumers and after their consump- tion at user end ,these equipments enter the chain of recycling at the collection centers designated by companies and thus reaching authorized recyclers and dismantlers. A number of companies have already taken initiative in this regard and have developed channels for taking back their products. Some such companies include Apple, Dell, Epson, Gateway, HP, IBM, Lexmark, Sony &Toshiba.


Recycling of E- waste is presently more concentrated in the informal (unauthorized) sector which has no organized collec- tion system and their operations are mostly dangerous to hu- man life and environment. In India about 95 percent of the e- waste is entering the informal sector via kabaadiwalas and reaching the poor houses where families are engaged in ex- traction of components and material recovery manually using rudimentary and risky processes like the boards are initially heated on gas stove or through blowtorch to loosen the lead soldering [10],[11],[12]. Such activities results in fugitive emis- sions and slag containing heavy metals which makes it an is- sue of health concern.


In order to check inefficiency in the existing E-waste recycling system in India, various recycling units were visited and inter- action was the tool used to find loopholes leading to ineffi- ciency.

4.1 Issues with Formal Sector

Formal Sector had the problem of less availability of E-waste. There is lack in infrastructure meant for collection of E-waste. Collection centers authorized by state pollution control boards are very few in number in every state and are not able to cater entirely. Stringent formalities for seeking authorization for collection center results in less number of entrepreneurs in this area. People wish to get returns for their E-waste prefer selling to kabaadiwalas. Even companies on which Extended produc- er responsibility (EPR) puts onus lack in collection facilities. Unsystematic locations of processing units without caring for collection centers locations contributes to high cost of trans- portation of E-waste from collection centers to processing units. Thus, major challenges faced by formal recycling system in India are collection and high cost of transportation.

4.2 Issues with Informal Sector

In informal sector, for extraction of precious metals ,manual and unscientific methods are prevalent. This not only leads to
environmental and health hazards of the workers but also leads to inefficiency . In the dust, soil around the informal pro- cessing units, heavy metals like lead, cadmium, nickel and iron are found which are finally lost in the dumps and leads to inefficiency.


An entry survey in the form of questionnaire to seek responses from the public and help in finding solutions was conducted both online using Google Form and offline. The key objective of the survey was to get an idea about awareness of public of E-waste, movement of E-waste and solution to enhance collec- tion of E-waste as desired by the public. The survey covered strata of age groups important for the finding of solutions. Various categories of professionals participated in the survey.

Key Findings-

i. 39 percent of participants were aware of E-waste
whereas 26 percent were completely unaware of it

and 22 percent had heard of it but do not have clear understanding about it. Figure 1 shows the awareness of public towards E-waste.
Fig 1. Shows awareness of public towards E-waste.
ii. 75 percent of participants were completely unaware of E-waste management and handling rules,2011 by Govt. of India.

iii. 74 percent of participants were completely unaware of Extended producer responsibility (EPR). Figure 2 gives the awareness of public towards EPR.
Fig 2. Shows awareness of public towards EPR. iv. 65 percent of participants said that discarded
electronic products resulted in negative impacts to

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environment and still 17 percent changed electronic products for the sake of fashion.
v. Only 6 percent give E-waste to authorized recycler, 19 percent to seller on a buy back arrangement whereas rest either give to family or friends ,disassemble to reuse some parts , store on premises with maximum
35 percent preferred selling it as second hand or to
vi. For collection of E-waste 78 percent of participants
wanted that more number of collection centers should be there and close to their place whereas only
21 percent wanted E-waste to be collected from their

place by regular pick up drives. Figure 3 depicts re- sponse of public towards collection method to be em- ployed as desired by them.
Fig 3. Shows response of public towards collection method to be employed as desired by them.
Thus, as a solution to enhance collection of E-waste, people wished that there must be more number of collection centers and close to their place. More awareness needs to be generated amongst people about Extended producer responsibility (EPR), E-waste management and handling rules and concern to E-waste.


A modeling framework comprising of sub models to develop an efficient recycling system can be used. This modeling com- prises of tools to check two basic functions of e-waste recy- cling system which are collection and processing [13].


Collection model projects the mass of e-waste collected ,cost of operating collection sites and the costs and environmental impacts of transporting e-waste .Collection model is the most important model which actually enhances collection and de- velops efficient recycling system. In order to have large collec- tion of e-waste, it is important to have proper location of col- lection center [14]. It has been found in a survey that participa- tion of owner in collection process varies with the distance of collection center from individual ,weight of e-waste and trans- portation cost incurred.
E-waste Collected = E-waste per participant *Participation
Factor (Q)
Where Q depends upon -
i. Distance of collection center
ii. Weight of e-waste
iii. Transportation cost
Thus, it is important to have such location of e-waste collection center where maximum participation can be obtained and Participation factor(Q) can have maximum value [15],[16].

Algorithm using K-MEANS Function to locate collection center: Algorithm using K-MEANS Clustering function can be used to locate collection center position where maximum par- ticipation factor value can be achieved. K-Means clustering function is a systematic way of grouping data into a desired number of clusters such that the mean value of each cluster is minimized. Using this function, collection centers can be locat- ed at such places in the city so that each participant has to travel least possible distance to reach collection point and therefore it increases collection .Figure 4 gives the algorithm using K-Means function to locate collection center.

K-Means clustering function in Matlab:

IDX = kmeans(X,k)

K-Means clustering algorithm in Matlab:
rng('default') % For reproducibility
X = [randn(100,2)+ones(100,2);... randn(100,2)-ones(100,2)];
opts = statset('Display','final');
[idx,ctrs] = kmeans(X,2,'Distance','city',...
plot(X(idx==1,1),X(idx==1,2),'r.','MarkerSize',12) hold on plot(X(idx==2,1),X(idx==2,2),'b.','MarkerSize',12) plot(ctrs(:,1),ctrs(:,2),'kx',...
legend('Cluster 1','Cluster 2','Centroids',...
hold off
Fig 4. Shows algorithm using K-Means function to locate collection center.


In order to cut cost of transportation of e-waste collected from various collection centers, it is essential to have proper loca- tion of processing unit. So that the waste collected can reach the processing plant with reduced cost and time of transporta- tion. This can be achieved with K-Means clustering algorithm as done to locate collection center. Here the model takes dif- ferent picture with collection centers as sample number and cluster mean as location of processing unit.

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Using K-Means clustering algorithm ,an example consisting of
100 households was divided into 2 clusters ,each having mean
point where distance of each household is minimized to the
collection center and maximum participation is achieved as

shown in Figure 5.
Fig 5. Shows 100 households divided into 2 clusters with collection centers locations.
Similarly ,K-Means algorithm can be used for any number of households in a city for finding desired locations of collection centers .This algorithm can be further used to find position of processing unit where distance from collection centers can be minimized and transportation cost can be reduced. This model can be used to develop an efficient recycling system in India.


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Amanjot Singh.
M.E.- Research Student .
PEC University of Technology,Chandigarh.
Working in the field of developing Efficient E-waste
Recycling and Disposal system in India and Ethical Engineering.

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International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, Volume 5, Issue 7, July-2014

ISSN 2229-5518


1-BER IS) 2014