E-Waste in Indian Cities, Menace, Resource, and Strategies for Sustainable Management

  • Amit Jain
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics book series (SPBE)


E-waste in India, which may exceed three million tons by 2020, contributes significantly to solid waste generation in cities. Indian e-waste recycling is a subset of metal scrap industry consisting of formal and informal collectors, transporters, dismantlers, and recyclers. Class 1 and 2 cities act as major e-waste suppliers where informal sector collects and supplies 95 % e-waste to informal recycling hubs in metros resulting in toxic emissions and stress on civic services. The formal sector just accounts 5 % with 14 % of their capacity utilization. India’s projected material requirements, up to 2030, are around 14.2 billion tons (46 % minerals and 6 % metals). India imports 95 % copper; 100 % molybdenum, nickel, antimony, cobalt, and magnesite; 90 % phosphate; and 87 % fluorite. Current e-waste inventory estimates from PC projected till 2020 indicate recovery potential of silver (6 tons to 11 tons), gold (1.4 tons to 2.4 tons), palladium (0.5 tons to 0.89 tons), copper (3.14 tons to 5.6 tons), and cobalt (0.4 tons to 0.73 tons) with GHG emissions ranging from 2 to 35 % of the GHG emissions due to primary mining of these metals. SWOT analysis indicates that despite potential strengths and opportunities, weakness exists due to sluggish enforcement of regulations without targets, economic instrument, and take back mechanism increasing illegal leakage of material. Therefore, under 3R strategy, usage of economic instrument, collection targets, and viability gap financing through PPP can lead to successful demonstration of e-waste management in metros. This can be scaled up to waste management parks, ecotowns, and their integration with smart cities.


Informal Sector Smart City Public Private Partnership Indian City Compounded Annual Growth Rate 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IRG Systems South AsiaNew DelhiIndia

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