Recycling and e-waste industry in India

Research Team: Deepak Bawari
LEAD Centre: Centre for Development Finance (CDF)
Focus Area: Environment and Climate Change
Project Geography: India


Recycling as waste management practice in India is pushed by statutory compulsions, ecological requirements and economic considerations. The recycling activity is witnessing a shift and moving from largely unorganized approach to a more organized large scale corporate domain. The negative externalities caused from the hazardous nature of the material used in products makes it necessary to reclaim the waste and recycle components of the products to reduce the associated environmental contamination.

Businesses have to behave responsibly to maintain their brand images as well as reduce ecological burden of their operations. This not only reduces firm’s risks arising from future litigations but also saves on abatement costs. Finally, some of the materials have high economic costs of production produce but recycling can be an easy and cheaper option to reclaim the same product.

The recent policy amendments and proposed actions in the country have resulted in more organized efforts to recycle electronic waste (e-waste). although the technology in India is still limited and the e-waste recyclers cannot recover metals from the printed circuit boards, but their operational costs are coming down significantly as the industry prepares itself for the proposed e-waste recycling policy (draft of e-waste recycling policy is in circulation and largely in acceptable form).

•    Study of regulatory environment for waste management and its limitations with focus on e-waste industry.
•    E-waste industry growth trends in India; impact of the international actions and local intervention
•    Preparedness of the industry for the new policy environment, cases of the efforts undertaken by the significant players and their relevance

Output of the study
The study documents international best practices and generate guiding principles that can help develop a supportive scenario for e-waste management in India; useful for the industry and the policymakers the study provides a snapshot of the waste industry with special emphasis on e-waste environment and growth potential in India.