The ICT and Microelectronics sector have been an enabler for digital transformation of services, business processes, governance, etc. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digitization, which in turn, increased the demand of electronics products such as servers, computer equipment, smartphones, etc.
While the ICT and microelectronics sector in India is the driver of its growth, the sector is also beset with several sustainability challenges. Proliferation of digital services and increasing use of electronics devices have led to accumulation of e-waste in the landfill as well as the environment. Collection, recycling and refurbishing mechanisms and infrastructure in India isn’t adequate to handle the volume of waste generated annually. As per The Global E-waste Monitor 2020, India generated 3.23 MT electronic waste (2019). This value was estimated to cross 5 million tonnes by 2021-22.
Further, more than 90% of the plastics and e-waste recycling activities in India lie in the informal sector. The informal sector has challenges such as poor wages and working conditions, prevalence of child labour, and environmental pollution due to unscientific handling of wastes and heavy metals.
The above issue calls for the concept of circular economy to be integrated in the sector. Circular economy will enable optimum resource utilization for businesses and create new, formalized jobs focused onclosing loops, i.e., collection, repair, reuse, sorting, recycling, etc.
CRB is currently working with organizations such as SERI (Sustainable Electronics Recycling International) and Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) to engage stakeholders and delve into various aspects of circularity, such as managing e-waste and water stewardship.
For further information, please contact
Senior Program Officer