Journal of Environmental Protection, 2014, 5, 9-16
Published Online January 2014 (
Review: Cu rrent Stat u s of Recycling of W aste Printed
Circuit Boards in India
Rashmi Kumar1*, Dahyalal. J. Shah2
1Chemical E ngineer ing, D. J. Sanghvi College of Engineering, Mumbai, India; 2Mukesh Patel School of Technolo gy Management &
Engineering, NMIMS University, Mumbai, Ind ia.
Email: *
Received November 10th, 2013; revised December 8th, 2013; accepted January 6th, 2014
Copyright © 2014 Rash mi Kumar , Dah yalal. J. Shah. This i s an open access art icle d ist rib u ted under t he Cr eative Co mmons Attr ibu-
tion License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly
cited. In accordance of the Creative Commons Attribution License all Copyrights © 2014 are reserved for SCIRP and the owner of
the intellectual property Rashmi Kumar, Dahyalal. J. Shah. All Copyright © 2014 are guarded by law and by SCIRP as a guardian.
Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are an integral part of any electronic equipment. The growth of e-waste as end-
of-life electronic equipments at an exponential rate is producing large quantities of discarded PCBs. In India,
current recycling and processing of PCBs is managed almost entirely by the i nformal sector or the unskilled la-
bor (95%). The crude recycling activities cause irreversible health and environmental hazards and the loss of
valuable materials due to the poor recovery of base and precious metals. With the disclosures of the recycling
being done by unskilled labor, alternative recycling strategies are being sought with the aim of higher recovery
of materials in an environment friendly manner. There is an urgent need to establish effective and efficient me-
thods for recycling the metals presented in the w aste PCB s. In this st udy, the existing methods practiced for re-
cycling of waste P C Bs in India and the management strateg ies for handling them are assessed.
Printed Circuit Boards; India; E-W aste; Informal Recycling
1. Introduction
Growth rate of discarded electronic waste is high in India
since it has emerged as a giant hub for Information
Technology. There is a rapid modernization of life style.
Printed Circ uit Boards (PCBs) are an integral part of an y
electronic equipment. They act as a base and provide
electrical connections to all mounted components pre-
sented in any electronic equipment. With the rapid
growth of electronic goods combined with rapid rate of
obsolescence, e-waste is the fastest growing waste pro-
ducing large quantities of waste printed circuit boards.
Concerns about waste PCBs began to mount after inves-
tigations by several environmental groups such as Basel
Action Network (BAN), the Silicon Valley Toxicity
Coalition (SVTC), Greenpeace and Toxics Links. It re-
vealed that e-waste is being illegally brought into India
and other developing countries by misleadingly labeling
it as metal scrap or second hand computers. Absence of
any specific law regulating e-wa ste till 2012, the lax en-
vironmental standards and cheap labor have made India
an attractive site for recycling.
In India, it is believed that almost 40% of obsolete
electronic products are unused at homes or in warehouses
as people are unaware as what to do with the m and t here
is a lack of systematic mechanism for their disposal. Re-
cycling and processing of the waste PCBs in e-waste is
managed almost entirely by informal sector and is purely
market driven. It is a source of livelihood for unorga-
nized recyclers. Very crude methods which are used
cause occupational and environmental hazards and the
loss of valuable materials due to the poor recovery of
base and precious metals. These methods cause irreversi-
ble health and environmental hazards.
In this study, the existing methods practiced for recy-
cling and the management s trategies of handli ng the hu ge
quantities of waste PCBs in India are assessed. It gives a
review of current status of informal recycling and the
emerging tr e nds o f fo r ma l r ec ycl i ng d ue to the awareness
*Corresponding author.
Review: Current Status of Recycling of Waste Printed Circuit Boards in India
by NGOs like Greenpeace, Toxics Link, etc.
2. Technology Options for Recovery of
Metals from PCBs
PCB s in e-waste are complex mixtures of metals, ceram-
ics and organics. For the determination of composition
the Printed Circuit boards the comminution fines wet
anal ysis is not o nly ver y dep endent o n the diges tion co n-
ditions, determination of absolute assays of all constitu-
ents will also require comparison of data from more than
one digestion condition. The effect of digestion proce-
dure o n the fi nal assays in wet spectroscopic analyses has
been assessed by Ogunniyi, et al. [1]. Recovery of pre-
cious metals as gold, silver, platinum, palladium and base
metals as copper, nickel, aluminum, zinc, tin, iron, etc. is
the main driving force for the recycling of PCBs. The
heterogeneous composition of the PCBs poses problems
for se parati on of the var ious co nstitue nts. Table 1 shows
the weight and price of the various metallic components
in PCB s [2].
Technologies to retrieve metals from the waste PCBs
without harming the environment are required. Success-
ful recycling of PCBs depends on the efficient and eco-
nomical technology for recovering the valuable metals
from PCBs which account for more than 80% of the in-
trinsi c value, thoug h weight of t hese is less tha n 1%. Re-
trieving of metals can be done either by pyrometallurgic-
al or hydrometallurgical process in combination with
mechanical pretreatment. PCBs recycling process usually
includes three stages: pretreatment, separation/concen-
tration, and mechanical /chemical refining [3].
For efficient liberation and separation of metallic
components from non-metallic components as plastics
and ceramics, the PCBs are first to be crushed. Grinding
is followed by material separation based on physical
properties as magnetic, electrostatic properties, density,
visual or other characteristics. A series of permanent
magnets may be used to remove ferrous metals as iron
Table 1 . M arket val ue of th e metal re covered fr om 100 0 Kg
of PCBs (Chate r jee and Kumar , 2009) [2].
Reco v ered metal Weight Approximate c os t (in US$)
Gol d 279.93 g 6115 (@ 68 5.00 pe r 31 g)
Precious metals
(Pt, Pd, In) 93.31 g 3852 (@128 4.00 per 31 0 g)
Copper 190.512 Kg 1470 (@3.50 per 453.59 g)
Alumi nium 145.152 Kg 448.00 (@ 1.28 p er 453.5 9 g)
Le ad and Ti n 30.844 Kg 144.16 (@2.1 2 p er 453. 59)
Silver 450 g 213.15 (@14.70 per 31 g)
N. B. Data gene rated on avera ge rec overy of one t on of p opulat ed P CBs and
value is taken from the prevailing rate at that point of time. These are only to
give a per ception of valu e from the metal recove ry from e-waste.
and nickel from non ferrous materials. Eddy current se-
parators can separate non-ferrous metals as copper and
aluminum. Further separation of the precious and base
metals can be done by hydrometallurgical or pyrometal-
lurgical treatment.
The main steps in hydrometallurgical processing con-
sist of leaching which is selective separation of metals
from solid mi xtures b y disso lving i n an acid or a re agent
to form metallic salts or leachates and then metal recov-
ery from the leachates by methods such as precipitation,
solvent extraction, adsorption, ion-exchange, and ce-
mentation. In hydrometallurgy, solvent extraction is a
well established technology in processing of nuclear ma-
terials and in mineral processing of metals like copper,
nickel, zinc, cobalt, gold and silver on a commercial
scale and can be extended to retrieve metals from PCBs.
Par k and Fr ay [4,5 ] have r eporte d a promising method to
separate the metals in PCBs using solvent extraction.
In pyrometallurgy processing, the PCBs, connectors
and all the scrap containing the precious metals are
processed in smelters. Smelters turn fractions into metals
of high purity in an environment friendly and economic
way. It is successfully used to extract metals in a few
countries. Modern integrated smelters recover a large
wide range of metals from complex precious metals
bearing materia ls as gold, silv er and platinu m group met-
als (palladium, platinum, rhodium, iridium, ruthenium),
and also base metals as copper, lead, nickel, etc., and can
make use of organics such as plastics in place of coke as
a reducing agent and fuel as an energy source. Kim et al.
[6] have proposed a novel process to simultaneously ex-
tract precious metals such as gold, palladium and plati-
num from spent printed circuit boards and honeycomb
type autocatalysts by smelting without addition of any
collector metals.
3. Sources of Waste PCBs
Discarded e-waste account for the generation of huge
quantity of waste PCBs. Waste PCBs are generated from
overstock, obsolete and end-of-life computers, medical
appliances, fax and copying machines, household ap-
pliances such as televisions, refrigerators, washing ma-
chines, ovens, electronic toys, mobile phones, video cas-
sette players and recorders, MP3 players, air conditioners,
According to study carried by GTZ (German Technic-
al Collaboration agency) MAIT (Manufacturers’ Associ-
ation for Information Technology) in 2007, the total
quantities of generated and recycled E-waste were
380,000 tons and 19,000 tons respectively. Above this
about 50,000 tons got imported illegally into the country.
About 14 million mobile handsets had been replaced in
2007. But there is lack of authentic and comprehensive
data on E-Waste which is further exaggerating the prob-
Review: Current Status of Recycling of Waste Printed Circuit Boards in India
lems associated with E -waste mana ge ment in t he co unt ry.
Although various State Pollution Control Boards have
initiated the exercise to collect data on E-Waste genera-
tion, such exercises are not practiced with utmost sincer-
ity. [7].
The exponential increase of this waste every year
might soon turn the nation into the world’s largest
e-waste graveyard. 70% of e-waste is generated in ten
states. Maharashtra ranks the first followed by Tamil
Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal,
Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.
Maharashtra produces 20,270.6 tons per year due to
presence of large number of InfoTech Parks and elec-
tronic products manufacturing companies situated in
these areas. Sixty five cities in India generate more than
60% of e-waste. Among the cities, Mumbai ranks first
followed by Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad.
Mumbai alone generates approximately 19,000 tons of
e-waste excluding those from import. Bangalore gene-
rates 8000 tons of e-waste annually [8]. Toxics Link sur-
vey revealed that huge quantity of computer scrap also
comes into India from the USA, Singapore, Malaysia and
West A si a.
4. Legislation
With ma ny countr ie s havi ng i ntr od uc ed legisla tion to b an
the import of e-waste, India has emerged as the prime
destination for dumping of e-waste. In China the State
Environment Protection Administration (SEPA) is in
charge of the general solid waste management and the
import of all kinds of waste. Import of abandoned com-
puters, monitors, CRTs, copiers, microwave ovens, air
conditioners, video cameras, electric cooking devices,
rice cookers, telephones, video games (except for
processing for re-export), televisions, picture tubes and
refrigerators has been restricted [9]. European Union (EU)
has already released two directives in 2003. One was the
Directive on Restriction of the use of Certain Hazardous
Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment
(RoHS ), which directs all its member states to e nsure that
from 1 July 2006 all new electrical and electronic
equip ment put on the market does not contain lead, mer-
cury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated
biphenyls (PBBs) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers
(PBDEs). The second EU Directive on Waste Electric
and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)includes producers,
distributors, consumers and all parties involved in the
treatment of WEEE. Producers are requested to finance
the collection, treatment, recovery for environmentally
sound disposal of WEEE [10,11].
According to the California Electronics Waste Recy-
cling Act2003, the State of California directs each
manufacturer that sells electronic devices to either collect
an equivalent of 90% of the number of devices they sell
or they must pay the alternative fee for recycling the de-
vices they sell [12]. In US, different stake holders, like
the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), govern-
ment agencies, environmental organizations and others
are coming together with joint nationwide plan for man-
aging electronic waste. In Japan the manufacturers and
importers are forced to take back their products at desig-
nated collection sites and to recycle them according to
the regulations set by the government. Retailers take
back used home appliances that they sell and transfer
them to the corresponding manufacturers and importers.
The two major laws covering broad range of e-waste
items are “The Law for Recycling of Specified Kinds of
Home Appliances(LRHA) and “The law for Promotion
of the Effective Utilization of Resources” (LPUR). In
Malaysia, the guidelines for the classification of used
electronic and Electronic Equipments entered into force
in January 2008, which prohibits the import of WEEE.
Though India is one of the most affected countries by
e-waste problem, yet there had not been any effective
e-waste policy till the year 2012. This may be because it
was not considered as a potential threat which needed to
be handled effectively. Earlier the Ministry of Environ-
ment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, had
issued notifications related to hazardous wastes which
were implemented through the State Pollution Control
Boards, Central Pollution Control Board and control
committees i n States and Union Territories.
But none of the environmental legislations mentioned
above had direct and specific reference of handling of
electronic waste as hazardous in nature. Accord ing to the
Hazardous Wastes Rules (1989), e-waste was not treated
as hazardous unless proved to have higher concentration
of certain substances. With the collaborative efforts by
Greenpeace, MAIT, GTZ and Toxics link along with
support from major electronic companies in India, the
Ministry of Environment and Forests notified the
E-waste (Management and Handling) Rule on May 30,
2011. The rule is implemented throughout the country
from May 1, 2012. Every producer, consumer involved
in the manufacture, sale, purchase and processing of
electrical and electronic equipment or components, col-
lection centers, dismantlers and recyclers of e-waste
come under this law. The rule gives guidelines for man-
agement, handling and disposal of e-waste and places
responsibility on the producers for the entire lifecycle of
a product from design to disposal i.e. it is based on Ex-
tended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Disposal of
e-waste in municipal landfills will be prohibited by the
new regulations. Manufacturers will be made financially
and legally responsible for the safe disposal of their
Producers will have to provide all information regard-
ing disposal of the equipment after use to prevent e-waste
from being dropped in domestic waste and about the ha-
Review: Current Status of Recycling of Waste Printed Circuit Boards in India
zardous components present. All commercial consumers
and Government departments will be responsible for re-
cycling of e-waste. The new Legislation includes me-
chanisms for better designs for recycling, reuse and re-
duction in the use of toxic material and encourage intro-
duction of green electronic products in the market. It is
mandatory to register all handling and recycling of ha-
zardous wastes with Central Pollution Control Board
But there are certain loopholes in the existing legisla-
tion. There is no directive on ban of import of second
hand electronic goods brought to the country for charity
and reuse purpose which finally finds its destination in
informal recycling. Also, India being a signatory to the
Basel Convention, a UN treaty on the control of trans-
boundary movement of Hazardous Wastes and Disposal,
it cannot export hazardous waste listed in Annex VIII of
the convention to countries that have ratified the agree-
ment. However the Convention does not restrict the im-
port of such wastes from countries that have not ratified
the B ase l agr e e men t . Thus t he r e i s no p r o visio n to e ns ur e
the ban of imports of electronic waste. Greater scrutiny
and vigilance by the custom authorities on the cross-
border movements can prevent the dumping of obsolete
electrical and electronic products from developed coun-
5. Review of Informal Recycling
Printed circuit boards in e-waste contain both valuable
materials such as gold, palladium, silver and base metals
such as copper, nickel, iron, and aluminum. Recovery of
precious metals is the main driving force for the recy-
cling of PCBs. Lack of access to appropriate technolo-
gies and methodologies and the infrastructure capable of
handling the increasing volumes of the scrap lead to in-
formal recycling. Informal sector consists of small
workshops which cannot handle large quantity of e-waste
at a time. There are scrap dealers or Kawarees who col-
lect domestic e-waste as well as from offices and educa-
tional institutes and corporates. The scrap dealers pay
consumers a price for their waste appliances and they in
turn sell them to dismantlers and recyclers in the infor-
mal sector. It is t he livelihood for the uno rga nized r ecyc-
lers and the y risk t heir l ives a nd en viron ment d ue to la ck
of awareness. Over 25,000 people handle 50,000 tons of
e-waste in various scrap yards in Delhi every year (Tox-
ics Link). There are similar scrap yards at Meerut, Fero-
zabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai.
The informal recycling system includes small to me-
dium scale units and are involved in dismantling, sorting
and also harmful processes such as burning and leaching
in order to extract metals from the e-waste particularly
the PCBs. The accrued electronic and electric waste is
first dismantled and sorted to fractions as printed circuit
boards, cathode ray tubes, cables, plastics, metals, con-
densers and others. The methods of salvaging material
from circuit boards drawn from monitors, CPU disc,
floppy drives, printers, etc. are highly destructive as they
involve heating and open burning for extraction of metals.
Toxic chemicals are used to recover valuable metals such
as gold, silver and copper from the PCBs. Working in
poorly ventilated areas without proper personal protec-
tive equipment leads to exposure to dangerous and slow-
poisoning chemicals. Even after such harmful methods
are used, only a very few of the metals are recovered and
the recovery percentage is very low.
According to a comprehensive report by Maharashtra
Pollution Control Board, 2007, there is no organized
mechanism for collection, transportation and disposal of
WEEE. The dismantling of the e-waste is done by the
crudest methods by use of hammer, chisel, screw driver
and bare hands to separate copper containing parts, steel,
plastic and other metals. Recyclers are mainly interested
in recycling PCBs as they contain the precious metals.
Precious metals are present as thin layer on surface of
copper , nickel and iron in pins, condensers, etc. on PCBs.
Preheating process is applied to remove the resalable
compo ne nt s like IC s, c o nde n s er s, be a ri ngs (p ul le ys) fr o m
floppy drive and hard drive. Pre-heating means simply
putting the mother board on a stove. Then resalable chips,
condensers, bearings, etc. are plucked out manually fro m
the pre-heated PCBs from TV, PC, cell phone, etc. The
gold-plated pins are manually removed. The core of each
mother boar d has a flat lamin ated gold plate which is cut
down and sold to goldsmiths for gold recovery. The pre-
heated circuit boards are taken by other dealers for re-
covery of solder (consisting of lead and mercury). The
method of solder recovery is very rudimentary [13].
6. Impact of Informal Recycling
The Basel Convention, a UN Treaty, defines Printed
Circuit Boards as hazardous. In the absence of suitable
techniques and protective measures, PCBs recycling by
crude methods result in toxic emissions to the air, water
and soil and pose a serious health and environmental
hazard. Improper recycling can cause irreversible dam-
age to the human body and environment. Women and
children are often directly exposed to lead and other ha-
zardous materials in this process. The acid treatment and
burning cause occupational hazards to the workers and
contaminate the environment through efflue nts and to xin
laden smoke. Highly toxic fumes as dioxins and furans
are produced when plastics casings are burnt to retrieve
metals and these are released into the air. Waste acid
water is discharged into neighboring grounds. Working
in poorly ventilated enclosed areas without masks and
technical expertise results in exposure to dangerous and
slow poiso ning che micals. T h us with al most a ll rec ycling
Review: Current Status of Recycling of Waste Printed Circuit Boards in India
being done in illegal scrap yards, there are no controls on
the processes and discharge of effluents. Even after such
harmful methods are used only a few of the materials are
7. Management Strategies for Formal
Recycling of PCBs
Proper management for recycling of waste PCBs will
dep end no t o nly on the e ffec ti vene ss of lo cal gover nme nt
but also on the attitude of consumers and manufacturers.
Collaborative campaigns are required for educating the
consumers. Encouragement of donation of e-wastes to
underdeveloped areas and second-hand markets can help
reduce the quant ity of waste PCBs produced. An efficient
collection and recycling infrastructure is required. For
financing, either the consumers can pay via fee at pur-
chase or shared by producers (for transport and recycling)
and municipalities (for collection). In Switzerland, Ad-
vance Recycling Fee (ARF) is charged on all new ap-
pliances. The ARF is used to pay for the collection,
transport and recycling of the disposed appliances. The
effective collectio n o f e-waste in Switzerland is pri maril y
due to efficient management of the waste by two Pro-
ducer Responsibilty Organisations (PROs)-SWICO (The
Swiss Association for Information, Communication and
Organisational Technology) and S.EN.S. (Stiflung Ent-
sorgung Schweiz) [14].
Integration of the existing informal recyclers into the
formal sector can be done by giving them incentives.
Proper knowledge transfer and skill upgrading through
seminars and training are required. Since the informal
sectors have their own limitations to implement all
processes, there is a need for responsibility being given
to formal sector which would be responsible to pay the
informal sector an attractive price for the scrap material.
For environmentally sound management of waste PCBs
proper collection, transportation, storage, recovery and
disposal facility at regional and national levels certified
by the regulatory authorities are required. E-waste col-
lection, exchange and recycling centers should be en-
couraged in partnership with government, NGOs and
manufacturers. Proper recycling of materials present in
PCBs requires sophisticated technology and specific
skill s and trai nin g for the o pe ratio n. T hus invo l vement o f
both formal and informal players is required. The infor-
mal sector should concentrate more on collection, disas-
sembly and segregation and be discouraged from treating
PCBs. The formal sector should purchase the PCBs from
the informal sector and concentrate only on the core ac-
tivity of PC B recycling.
Rochat et al. 2008 [1 5], ha ve d iscus sed the wor king o f
baseline scenarioand alternate business models” for
different qualities of PCBs. Presently, the collection and
segregation of e-waste is done by middleman, scrap
dealers and rag pickers (kabadiwallas). In the baseline
scenario, the PCBs are collected and dismantled in order
to segregate the gold-conta ining p arts a s pins, c onnecto rs,
chips from which gold is extracted by wet chemical
processes. The rest is thrown away, or sold to vendors for
the extraction of copper. In the alternate business model,
the recyclers collect and segregate the boards in order to
accumulate them until they obtain the minimal required
amount to be shipped to an integrated smelter abroad. By
replacing the traditional wet chemical leaching process
for the recovery of gold with the export towards inte-
grated smelters and refineries, safer practice and higher
revenue per unit of e-waste collected are generated. A
refining charge is agreed beforehand in a refining con-
tract. An accurate determination of the exact composition
and the precious metal content of the received materials
is crucial to enable a correct settlement with the custom-
ers but also to steer the optimum processing of the ma-
terial throu gh the plant [16].
In another model S. Chaterjee and Krishna Kumar,
2004 [2] have proposed for equal participation of the
formal and non-formal sector to make e-waste manage-
ment business a profitable one. The no n-for m al operators
will concentrate on collection, disassembly, segregation
of e-waste, whereas formal sector will concentrate on the
processing of the PCBs to extract precious metals. The
95% - 97% of the e-waste by weight contains metal,
glass and plastics which can be easily disassembled and
segregated manually without damaging the environment;
whereas 3% - 5% by weight which actually contains
PCBs need environmentally friendly recycling tech-
niques and the formal recyclers will concentrate on that.
Segregated items like PCBs and connectors will be con-
verted into powder by a professional agency for which
they will charge fee a nd then sell the PCB po wder to the
established recyclers at the right market price based on
the as sessment of assay.
7.1. Initiat ives by the Prod ucers
Industry has shown considerable initiative for handling
e-waste responsibly. Dell has instituted recycling pro-
grams by offering a take-back program for free. Hewlett
Packard (HP) complies with RoHS norms and has started
recycling program by offering a take-back program for
consumers. It has started a reuse approach where the
products recycled can be used again. HCL has all its
prod ucts RoHS complia nt and star ted a take-back facility
to all its consumers (both corporations and individuals).
Lenovo also offers a take-back facility to all its consum-
ers. Products are picked from consumer premises by a
third party enlisted by Lenovo and the service is free of
cost to its customers. Wipro has become 100% RoHS
compliant and started a take-back policy for all its end-
of-life (EOL) products.
Review: Current Status of Recycling of Waste Printed Circuit Boards in India
7.2. Initiatives by Private Parties
The re are a fe w firms t hat have taken up t he task of e ffi-
cient disposal of PCBs from e-waste. Formalizing the
informal sector (particularly the processes with the high-
est environment and health impacts) with improved
technology and skills along with improved working and
living environment of the people working in the informal
sector has been the main objective of the newly formed
“Clean E-Waste Channels” in India (e-waste guide,
“Clean E-Waste Channel” is based on a voluntary
agreement amongst producers formed by the Electronics
City Industries Association (ELCIA), Bangalore, to or-
ganize the take back of e-waste through authorized re-
cyclers. A “Clean E-Waste Channel” is supposed to pro-
vide convenient collection points for consumers, provide
transportation of e-waste to a trader/recycler, involve
trained informal sector for certain tasks and ensure that
the e-waste is processed by licensed recyclers only. For
this the consumers should also be made aware and should
give their obsolete electronic waste to authorized recyc-
lers only. The producers should agree on individual or
collective take- back system at authorized collection
points. The recyclers should have proper and sustainable
recycling facility of e-waste along with license from the
State Pollution Control Board and also contractual
agreements with the producers about receiving e-waste.
The producers of electronic goods are supposed to form a
Producer Responsibility Organization(PRO) which
will manage the take-back and ensure that the e-waste
particularly the PCBs will be processed in an environ-
menta ll y fri e nd l y manne r.
With the growing recognition of business prospects
and opportunities many companies have cropped up in
India and are doing business in this field recently. Few
leading brands active in India have been trying to provide
takeback and recycling services in India. There have
been a few private parties which are coming forward in
this direction to invest in PCBs recycling. Electronic
waste recyclers and processors have to be registered with
Central Pollution Control Board. 23 recycling units ha ve
been registered as of 2010. Table 2 gives the list regis-
tered e-waste recycling units in India.
Table 2. List of regi s t ered e-waste recycling units in India.
SN. Company Location Recycling capacity
1. M/S Ramky E-Waste Recycling Facility ( Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd) Mahe shwar am, A ndhra Pra desh 10,000
2. M/S Earth sense Recycle Pvt. Ltd. Rang areddy Andhr a P ra desh 1800
3. M/S Ash Recyclers Unit II BangaloreKarnataka 120
4. M/S New Port Computer Services ( India) Private Ltd. Bangalo re, Karn a tak a 500
5. M/S EWA RDD & Co. Ban galo re, Karn a tak a 600
6. M/S E -R3 Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore, Karnataka 120,00 0 Units
7. M/S A sh Recy clers , U nit I Bangalore, Karnataka 120
8. M/S E-Parisara Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore, Karnataka 1800
9. M/S Surface Chem Finishers Bangalore, Karnataka 600 Kg/Annum
10. M/S Jhagadia Copper Lt d. Bharuch, Gujarat 12,000
11. M/S Eco Re cycl ing T hane, Maharashtra 7200
12. M/S Earth Sense Recycle Pvt. Ltd. Thane, Maharashtra 360
13. M/S Hi- Tech Recycling India (P) Ltd Pune, Mah ar as h tra 500
14. M/S Green scape ecomanagem ent Pv t. Ltd Alwar, Rajasthan 450
15. M/S Trishyiraya Recycling I ndia Pv t . Lt d Chen nai, Tamil N adu 740
16. TES AMM Private Ltd. K anchip ur am, Tamil Nadu 30,000
17. M/S Global E-waste M anagement and Servic es (GEMS) Kanchip ur am, Tamil Na du 387
18. M/S Victory Recovery and Recycle Technologies India Pvt. Ltd. Thiriv al l uv ar, Tam il Nad u 6000
19. M/S Ultrust Solutions (India) Pvt. Ltd. Thiruval luvar, Tamil Na du 1500
20. M/S INAA Enterprises Chennai,Tamil Nadu 300
21. M/S TIC Group India Pvt. Ltd. Noida,Uttar Pradesh 1000
22. M/S Attero Recycling Pvt. Ltd. Roorke, Uttara khand 12,000
23. M/S Earth Sense Recycle Pvt. Lt d. Gurgaon, Haryana 1200
Review: Current Status of Recycling of Waste Printed Circuit Boards in India
7.3. Initiat ives by Govern ment
Government of India has initiated various activities for
dealing with issues of hazardous waste management. The
State Governments are in the process of identifying ha-
zard ous wast e disp osal sit es. WEEE Task Force has been
constituted comprising the Ministry of Environment and
Forests, Central Pollutio n Contro l Board, Ministr y of IT,
Manufacturers Association for Information Technology
(MAIT), The National Association of Software and Ser-
vices Companies (NASSCOM) and some industry asso-
ciations and various NGOs such as Sahaas and Toxic
Link. The Task Force has set up guidelines for formula-
tion of Regulatio n Polic y for e-waste on issues such as: 1)
Policy and Legislation; 2) Baseline Studies; 3) Restruc-
turing and Recycling; 4) System of Extended Producer
Responsibility; 5) Awareness-building. Based on these
guidelines the legislation regarding e-waste has been
passed which has come into effect from May, 2012.
8. Actual Problems to the Formal Recycling
of PCBs in India
The new legislation regarding e-waste with effect from
May, 2012 does not have any provision for ban on import
of second hand electronic equipment for charity and
reuse purpose. Absence of this strong clause will not be
able to curb the i mport of large q uantities of e-waste the-
reby producing huge amount of waste PCBs which end
up in informal re cycli ng yard.
In developing and industrializing countries waste is
viewed as a resource and income-generat ing op por tunity.
There is a general reluctance to pay for waste recycling
and disposal services, particularly when consumers can
make some money by selling their old and broken ap-
pliances [17]. Also due to lack of awareness of hazards
of the e-waste, consumers sell their electronic waste to
informal recyclers for quick money as it is easier and
faster. Informal collectors take at a lower price. Thus a
regular supply of PCBs is an issue which the registered
recycling units face. The formal recyclers should have a
stead y supp ly of PCB s fro m e-waste for their sustenance.
Currently the authorized e-waste recycling facilities in
India capture only 3% of the total e-waste generated and
rest make way in i nforma l recycling.
As mentioned by Rochat et al. [15] in the “alternate
business modelafter dismantling, the PCBs are re-
moved and exported collectively for smelting abroad to
recover precious and base metals. However, the cost
linked to the transportation to the integrated smelters is
the main limiting factor. Hence new alternative treatment
processes to recover the precious metals which will be
viable and attrac tive for the investors i n this fie ld need to
be developed for recycling of metals in PCBs indige-
nous ly in India for gre ater returns.
Huge investments are made by the producers on pro-
duction and delivery of goods as compared to their refur-
bishments and recycling. Few leading companies are
offering take-back services for cleaner recycling. Ac-
cording to the report “An Assessment of E-waste take-
backs in India”, 2008 which reviews the company poli-
cies and practices on take-back in India nine of twenty
bra nds surve yed had no take-back and recycling services
in India despite many of these same global brands pro-
vide voluntary take-back service in countries like US.
Only one global brand, Toshiba and two Indian brands,
HCL and Wipro are offering voluntary take-back servic-
es to their customers in India. HP offers take-back ser-
vice only for its corporate customers but small business
and individual customers are missing in this service.
Study shows that information related to take-back ser-
vices is not easily accessilble. Some of the brands, nota-
bly LG Electro nics and Dell have not po sted information
on take back in India on their respective Indian websites.
One has to visit their global portals to get this informa-
tion ( [18]. Ta b l e 3 g ives a list
of compani es and thei r take back programme s in India
But there are few favorable factors for PCBs recycling
in India. The tradition to reuse the electronic products in
India has an advantage of slightly reducing the quantity
of waste PCBs. Due to low manpower cost, managing the
recycling of PCBs with appropriate technology will be
more cost effective.
9. Conclusions
It is clear that many initiatives have been started to deal
with t he pr o b le m of re c ycl i ng of PCBs. Measures such as
specific product take-back obligations, greater attentions
to the new product de s ign, b an or restriction on the use of
certain substances will help reduce the problem to a great
extent. In order to develop newer ways to deal with the
problem of recycling in an eco-friendly way and to make
it continuous and sustainable at the same time, more re-
search work needs to be undertaken. There should be
regulations and standards besides incentives on invest-
ment. Effective implementation of the new e-waste law
will help to tackle the problem.
Environmentally, sound recycling of printed circuit
boards from e-waste requires development of proper
e-waste collection, transportation, storage, treatment,
recovery and disposal facilities at the regional and na-
tional level. Producers are to be made more responsible.
Though the original equipment manufacturers may have
their own limitations, it should be imperative on their
part to take the r espo nsibilit y for rec ycling the r isk y parts
Ackno wledg ements
We wo uld li ke to thank Dr . K. K. Tiwari (Consultant and
Review: Current Status of Recycling of Waste Printed Circuit Boards in India
Table 3. How companies line up on take -back in India
(www .des ig nout tox i cs. org ).
Take back service available
in India Take back service not
available in India
Acer Apple
Dell * Microsoft
HCL Panasonic
Hewlett Packard (HP)** PC S Tec hno logy
Le novo Philips
LG Electronics^ Sharp
Motorola Son y
Nokia Sony Ericsson
Wi pro Toshiba
Zeni th
*Informat i on regard ing take back in India is only availa b le on global websi te;
^Take back service is only available for mobile phone; **Ta ke-back service
is only available for corporate customers.
Visiting Professor at JUET) for all his guidance in writ-
ing this re vi ew paper.
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