Fundamentals Of
E-Waste Management In

Definition of E-waste

From broken phones to non-working batteries, everything that is technology related, named e-waste after they lose their ability to function. Old computer monitors, television remotes, microwaves, and many other electronics could be counted in this category. You can find more detailed e-waste categories below. Besides basic recoverable items like plastics and metals, these electronic devices contain valuable materials such as gold, platinum, silver, and a number of toxic substances which can harm people if disposed of improperly.

Importance of E-Waste Management

With the increase in technological innovation, growing population, and cheaper technological products, the e-waste problem is getting more serious each day. In this technological era, e-waste is currently the fastest growing waste stream. We are producing on average 24 million tons of e-waste annually and it is expected to reach 34.2 million tons by 2029 and 74.7 million tone still 2040 with an expectation of 9kg of e waste per person.

According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, we generated 53.6 million tons of e-waste in 2019 and only 17.4 percent of it was collected and recycled. Therefore, a large majority of the waste is not properly disposed of and this leads to valuable and hazardous materials being dumped rather than treated.

Negative Effects of E-waste & Improper Disposal

E-waste contains hazardous substances such as mercury, lead, and cadmium. When buried, they harm the environment by leaching and contaminate soil and groundwater. These negative environmental effects cause global warming problems and interfere with our aim to be more sustainable. In addition, toxic gasses release into the environment when disposed of improperly by burning. It results in workers getting exposed to dangerous substances. For example, exposure to mercury can cause brain damage. 

Many companies and people’s dispose of their e-wastes by dumping to unregulated or illegal e-waste sites in developing countries for cheaper disposal alternatives. Nimtoli in Dhaka is one of the most used areas (nearly 70% of the e-waste) for disposing of e-wastes. Workers in these facilities are subject to daily exposure to hazardous chemicals. These sites often use children and have no safety regulations. Due to the exposure of those harmful chemicals, we are absorbed those e-waste in our home its very harmful to children and old age people, lost their abilities to talk, which affected their development and many people had lead poisoning, weak immune systems, and cancer.

Furthermore, improper e-waste management causes the loss of valuable materials. According to the EPA, for every million cell phones, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold can be recovered. Also, improper disposal has negative effects on the recovery of recyclable materials such as plastics, metals, and glass.

Collection Schemes & Transportation

The e-waste management process starts with collecting old and non-usable electronics and transporting them to recycling facilities. The collection process could be varying depending on the region or the collection company.


There are many collection schemes for e-waste collection activities. For example, E-waste receptacles are used for collecting smaller WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) items. Door step collection is done on-demand when citizens request collection from their take-responsibility to collect that e-waste through website platforms with the best price. 

Shredding & Separating

Thethirdstepistoshredthee-wastesintosmallerpiecestomake the separating process easier. Recycling different materials togetherisnotpossible.Therefore,separatingplastics,metalsand other components is really important for the next steps. After metalsareseparatedfromtherest,apowerfulmagnetseparates iron and steel while water separation technology is used to separate glass from plastics. The final step in separation is to extractleftovermetalsfromplasticstopurifythewastestream.

How Can We Solve the E-waste Problem?

First of all, we have to promote e-waste recycling. People have to learn about e-waste and the basics of recycling. Many people know the importance of recycling basic recyclables like paper, plastic, metal and how to recycle them. And they learned what they have to do in order to recycle them. But due to the increase in the number of electronic wastes, the importance of e-waste recycling is also growing. Therefore, we should avoid improper treatment of e-waste and start solving e-waste problems with awareness. There are currently 78 countries that have e-waste management policies and this covers 71% of the world population. We should increase that number and make citizens more aware of the problem.

Due to wrong recycling practices or dumping, we are facing not only health issues but also environmental issues. We should also point to all the bad aspects of illegal disposal and guide people about reliable firms dealing with e-wastes. The number of certified companies is increasing and customers should learn how to check them.

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