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CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML), Jamshedpur: A Pioneer R&D Organisation for E-Waste Recycling

15 Jun 2017

E-waste recycling, a hitherto not-frequently used term has assumed a new found importance in the fast-paced digital era we are living in. E-waste recycling is the re-use and reprocessing of electrical and electronic equipment of any type that has been discarded or rendered obsolete.

Common e-wastes are from home appliances such as televisions, air-conditioners, washing machines, RO plants, electric cookers etc. and from Information technology equipment and electronic goods such as computers, mobile phones, laptops, batteries, hard disks. Globally, re-cycling of e-waste is a burgeoning trend and has been introduced to protect human and environmental health, mostly due to the ever-increasing environmental pollution impacts of e-waste.

Rapid technological development and hi-tech innovation in the electrical & electronics sector has resulted in the faster obsolescence of these products, consequently generating large amount of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEEs). This electronic waste is the fastest emerging waste stream in the world which contains a large amount of valuable metals as well as potential environmental contaminants. It is therefore necessary to develop technology for e-waste recycling as an alternative source of metals. CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory (CSIR-NML), Jamshedpur is involved in the development of e-waste recycling processes through physical beneficiation, hydro/pyro-metallurgical routes to recover precious and hazardous metals.  The institute developed expertise through various programme supported by Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeITY), Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Korean Institute of Geosciences & Minerals Resources (KIGAM).

Recently scientists at CSIR-NML have successfully developed a feasible process for extracting gold from electronic waste like mobile phone.  Besides mobile phones gold can also be extracted from some expensive medical equipment and telecommunication devices.

In India, the e-waste generation is estimated at ~1.4 Million Metric Ton in 2014; less than 50% of this e-waste is available for recycling and only 5-10% is recycled primarily by non-formal sector. Often inappropriate processes like incineration and smelting are used by non-formal sector for extracting metals from e-waste. This generates hazardous emissions of dioxins and furans. Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic generated from e-waste cause health and environment hazard.  Very few Indian companies are involved in e-waste recycling and extracting metal. Also e-waste collection system is not mature in the country. CSIR-NML intends to facilitate e-waste collection network in the Eastern India.

CSIR-NML is going to establish a Technology Business Innovation Centre (TBiC) for entrepreneurship development.  A programme on “E-waste management and entrepreneurship development” will be taken up with the sponsorship of Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Innovation- Science and Technology based Entrepreneurship Development (i-STED) scheme. The programme will take up the following activities:

  • Safe disassembling and intelligent sorting for reusing of e-waste components;
  • Developing realistic business plans for establishing e-waste recycling ventures for prospective entrepreneurs;
  • Establishing authorized e-waste collection network in Eastern India; and
  • Facilitating various tinkering laboratories in schools, colleges and local institutions for creating innovation ecosystem

{Feature has been uploaded by CSIR (Unit for Science Dissemination), Ministry of Science & Technology, New Delhi}.

 

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