E-Waste — the Toxic Legacy of our Digital Age

Countries, developed and developing alike, are faced with the flip side of development. Societies have adapted to technologies in big ways however the requisite awareness and legal framework needs to be spruced up in consonance with the fast pace fallout of technological residues that we are leaving behind. Some years back, the waste wasn’t much and was thought to have been easily assimilated in the environment. Today it poses a great challenge. The rapid penetration of the electronics and electrical gadgets in the huge markets of developing world and the steep pace of technological innovations making yesterday’s latest devices obsolete in the developed world. This has led to the problem of disposing off the e-waste responsibly in sync with the environment we live and for the future we look at.

“Update: ZeroWaste is now InstaCash

The innocuous looking gadgets that we use in our daily life contain elements and compounds which are very harmful to our well being. A broad categorization of these substances inimical to our health can be done as Halogenated Compounds, Heavy & other Metals and Radio Active substances.

Halogenated compounds like CFC (Choloroflourocarbon) PCB (Polychlorinated biphenyls) are present in Cooling units, insulation foams, cable insulations, fire retardants for plastics, condensers, transformers. Heavy metals like Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Lithium, Mercury, Nickel, Zinc Sulphide, and Selenium etc are found in CRTs, LEDs, rechargeable batteries, toners, power supply boxes etc. Radio Active substance like Americum is an integral part of medical equipments and fire detectors.

Today we find ourselves awfully placed. As we are making our lives easier and comfortable with the modern electrical and electronic gadgets yet on the other hand we are leaving a toxic legacy. If we do not wake up now, the future will not forgive us for our past. Join ZeroWaste movement in making a healthy and beautiful future.

Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Phone-throw and junk-dunk: Games to fight E-WASTE

How far can you throw your old mobile phone to save the environment?

“Update: ZeroWaste is now InstaCash

Throwing away old and unused electronics as rubbish or scrap is the beginning of the e-waste problem. It’s a big problem. How do you tell everyone that throwing is bad? Simple. Get them to throw their old and unused mobile phones for a good cause. That’s precisely what Jaipur based startup ZeroWaste did with their “Phone Throwing Championship” and “Junk Dunk” Tournament at the recently concluded tech-fest PLINTH 2015 at LNM Institute of Information Technology, Jaipur.

Phone throwing is simple. ZeroWaste asked participants to bring their old/unused phones and throw them as far as they could or as uniquely as they wished. For safety while throwing the phones were wrapped up tightly with Cellotape so that they wouldn’t shatter and litter the ground. Winners were chosen on the basis of maximum distance thrown (just as in any athletic competition like discus, shot put and javelin or the old school favourite –cricket ball throw).

ZW collected all the phones used by the participants, paid cash rewards for theirold phones and made a 5 min presentation on how a simple decision to exchange your waste/unused/old electronics items for cash at an authorized ewaste collection outlet (ZW has 30+ centers) can make a huge difference to the fight against e-waste in India.

About 500 participants tried their hands at Phone Throw and 3 winners were chosen in each Men, Women and Freestyle categories. While the winners were rewarded with Goodies and T-Shirts, poor performers were “dared” by spectators to do something embarrassing, wacky, funny or all three!

Since E-Waste is not just about mobile phones, ZW invented a unique game called Junk-Dunk. Basically it is Basketball with 4 baskets that we made out of Junk washing machines. Each team had two baskets to shoot at and two to defend. Small tinkering with rules and people went crazy, playing for hours without break.

Participants pledged to join hands with ZeroWaste in making Jaipur the first E-waste free city in the country. Student delegate from Brazil, Pedro Rorato, admitted that like India, Brazil is also lacking the required e-waste recycling ecosystem and public awareness is the key to ensure 100% recycling.

Indians currently generates about 1.5 Million tonnes of waste electronics annually and it will rise exponentially as India bridges its “Digital Divide”. Sensing higer demand for cheap consumer electronics, companies are flooding the market with “designed to dump” products having shorter life and low-grade plastics.

ZeroWaste is upbeat about spreading the word of “buy one recycle one” to millions of Indians who enjoy the fun of modern electronics and technology upgrades but are clueless when it comes to understanding how the ewaste problem is a time bomb ticking under our very noses.

Says Prateek Goel and Sunil Saradhna, founders of ZeroWaste, “We hope to organise a state level and then a national phone throwing event in the coming year and generate huge awareness about responsible e-waste disposal especially among teenagers and youth.”

Way to go !!

To know more Connect with us today at info@getinstacash.in | www.getinstacash.in

Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

6 Responsibilities of Electronic Brands you should know

Cheap mobiles and electronic devices have caught the fancy of us all. Coming in various sizes and shapes these offer unbelievable features at most astonishing prices. Though very attractive yet some of them remain unguaranteed not only in their materials being used and also in safety features. Until now Indian markets were dumped with goods which could have played with our lives and environment.

“Update: ZeroWaste is now InstaCash

As a growing nation we need to guard against electronic and electrical items getting into our lives and becoming hazardous to our very existence. The only way to do it is to be aware of the roles and responsibilities of Electronic and Electrical producers and remove any deleterious products getting entry into the markets.

To safe guard the environment and ensure proper disposal of E-Waste, Government has brought in the concept of “Extended Producers Responsibility” under “E-Wastes Rules 2011”. All producers of Electronic and Electrical Equipment in India who manufacture and sell are made responsible for their products beyond manufacturing to ensure environmentally sound management of their end of life products.

Let us understand who are Electronics and Electronic Equipment Producers and their responsibilities.

The rules define an EEE Producer as any person who, irrespective of the selling technique used, undertakes the following actions

  • manufactures and offers to sell electrical and electronic equipment under his own brand; or
  • offers to sell under his own brand, assembled electrical and electronic equipment produced by other manufacturers or suppliers; or
  • offers to sell imported electrical and electronic equipment;

Responsibilities of Producers

  1. Collection of e-waste generated from the ‘end of life’ of their products in line with the principle of ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ (EPR), or generated during manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment and channelization of such waste to registered dismantler or recyclers.
  2. Setting up collection centers or take back systems either individually or collectively
  3. Financing and organizing a system to meet the costs involved in the environmentally sound management of e-waste generated from the ‘end of life’ of its own products and historical waste available on the date from which these rules come in to force. The financing arrangement of such a system shall be transparent.
  4. The producer may choose to establish such financial system either individually or collectively by joining a collective scheme.
  5. to facilitate return of used electrical and electronic equipment by providing contact details such as address, telephone numbers/helpline number of authorized collection centers to consumer(s) or bulk consumer(s)
  6. creating awareness through publications, advertisements, posters, or by any other means of communication and information booklets accompanying the equipment, with regard to:
  • information on hazardous constituents as detailed in sub-rule 1 of rule 13 in EEE
  • information on hazards of improper handling, accidental breakage, damage and/or improper recycling of e-waste
  • instructions for handling the equipment after its use, along with the Do’s and Don’ts
  • affixing a visible, legible and indelible symbol on the products or information booklets to prevent e-waste from being dropped in garbage bins

Next time you buy an electronic item be sure you buy from a complying producer who respects the environment, law and your health. Let’s be a little #Responsible ourselves.

To know more Connect with us today at info@getinstacash.in |www.getinstacash.in

Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.