October 14th is observed as International E-Waste Day since 2018. The day was developed by the WEEE Forum in order to raise the public profile of e-waste recycling and encourage consumers to recycle their e-waste with the resulting increase in e-waste recycling rates on the day itself and into the future.
According to a report by UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020, A record 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019. This is a 21 per cent increase as compared to the last five years. The new report has also predicted that global e-waste – discarded products with a battery or plug – will reach 74 Mt by 2030, almost a doubling of e-waste in just 16 years. This makes e-waste the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream.
International E-Waste Day 2020 – Theme
The growth of e-waste is caused mainly because of higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, short life cycles, and few options for repair. The demand has further expanded, especially in form of information and telecommunication equipment amid COVID-19 lockdown because as may people were working from home.
The WEEE Forum members have decided to focus the celebration on International E-Waste Day 2020 on the theme of education. The day is aimed at sensitising the younger audience around the e-waste issues. In this manner, the organisation is not only able to create a new generation of responsible consumers but is also able to deliver the message about e-waste generation and its environmental impact to their families, teachers and local communities.
E-Waste in India
According to a written statement presented in the Lok Sabha on September 23, 2020, by the Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, E-waste generation in India increased by 43 per cent in just three years. India, together with China and the United States, accounts for 38 per cent of this volume generated worldwide.
E-waste is a complex stream of waste as it contains both hazardous chemicals and valuable metal components. Thus, its management is an intricate process necessitating adequate research and development expertise, public participation and policy interventions. While there are new studies regarding effective management of the e-waste, the fact of the matter is that they are all at a research stage, not ready to deal with the problem on the field. Therefore, the generation of e-waste is happening at a much higher rate than the development of the method of its disposal.
Role of CSR in E-Waste Management
CSR in India has always played a significant role in socio-economic development and environmental conservation, through various collaborations, partnerships with governments, initiatives and adoption of sustainable operations. Some notable CSR initiatives aimed to tackle and manage e-waste in India include:
Apple’s E-Waste Reduction Plan in its new iPhone
Apple has announced that it will not include wall chargers or lightning earpods in the box of its new iPhone 12 to reduce the phone’s environmental impact. The company has said that the new phones will come with just a USB-C to Lightning cable. In addition to this, Apple is also removing the accessories from its existing iPhone models going forward.
Apple has said that the move means it has to consume fewer raw materials for each iPhone sold. It also allows for a smaller retail box, which means 70 per cent more units can fit on a single shipping pallet and reduce carbon emissions. Overall, Apple estimates the changes will cut over 2 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, which is equivalent to removing 450,000 cars from the road each year.
Panasonic’s #DiwaliWaliSafai Campaign for responsible disposal of E-Waste
Intending to build a greener ecosystem and deliver a better tomorrow for the coming generations, Panasonic India, a leading diversified technology company, launched an awareness campaign, #DiwaliWaliSafai on responsible disposal of E-waste. Marking the International E-Waste Day, the campaign encourages consumers to be more responsible this Diwali with their cleaning by giving their old unused electronic devices for recycling.
Diwali, being one of the biggest festivals in India involves a lot of customs and practices; be it lighting diyas, playing cards, cooking delicious meals or replacing old items with new ones. And among these rituals is that of cleaning, an important and common practice in every household. #DiwaliWaliSafai by Panasonic is an endeavour to not only educate but also help consumers to responsibly dispose of their E-waste by offering free of cost home pick-ups for large appliances and assistance in identifying closest collection centres.
As part of #DiwaliWaliSafai campaign, Panasonic is also running an exciting contest inviting consumers to share images and their stories of the E-waste they are disposing responsibly this Diwali on its social media handles; wherein five lucky participants stand a chance to win Panasonic home appliance including Microwave, LED TV, Washing Machine, Air Conditioner and Refrigerator. The contest is live till 25th October 2020.
GreenCycle Campaign by LG Electronics
LG Electronics introduced the ‘GreenCycle’ campaign in 2019 to spread awareness for responsible disposal of e-waste. Under this campaign, the company offers attractive incentives to motivate consumers to return their end-of-life products for recycling. The main objective of the campaign is to ensure that the consumer durable products are discarded in the most responsible way.
LG Electronics has also started an ‘Exchange and Take back’ programme which allows consumers to exchange their old products including Air Conditioners, Televisions, Washing Machine and Refrigerators of any brand in return of a lucrative value of their product in the form of complimentary gift vouchers.
Lenovo’s Recycling Programmes
Lenovo offers recycling programmes for their consumers as well as clients to comply with its extended producer responsibility. For consumers, the company offers a free recycling programme for Lenovo branded products. This service is available to consumers nationwide. To avail the service the consumer can call on toll-free number, write to an email, or can find the nearest collection centre to drop off e-waste for environmentally sound recycling.
The company offers Asset Recovery Services (ARS) to its business customers, to help manage their end-of-life technology equipment by providing PC take-back, data destruction, refurbishment and recycling. It also offers additional services including inventory, value assessment, on-site de-installation and data encryption. This service gives customers an end-to-end solution from Lenovo from the point of computer purchase to take-back and disposal.