Another part of the world is stepping forward to tackle the electronic waste problem. This time it’s New Delhi in India, which has begun enforcing e-waste management requirements as of the first of May.

The Central Pollution Control Board (“CPCB”) which is a division of The Ministry of Environment and Forests that was formed back in 1974, has issued guidelines that require manufacturers and retailers to accept, free of charge, e-waste from consumers and then re-sell, recycle, or properly dispose of those items.

Specifically, the law labels many types of electronics as hazardous materials, putting them under the Hazardous Waste Management Division (“HWMD”) of the CPCB. Manufacturers are required to submit collection and recycling plans to the HWMD, with most having done so in advance of the rules taking effect at the first of the month.

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Now that we’ve talked about global trends in IT disposal, it seemed appropriate to bring the subject home and talk about what things look like in the United States. In the electronics markets, the U.S. is currently the driving force and primary purchaser and user, as a nation, of electrical devices of all types, especially computers and gadgets. No single purchaser, both nationally and globally, is larger than the federal government.

Overall, the United States accounts for about 2.5 million tons of e-waste annually. Our closest competitor in electronic leftovers is Germany at about half our rate, followed closely by the United Kingdom. China will soon outpace the UK, however, and will likely overtake the Germans within the decade as well.

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Electronic waste (e-waste) has become a larger, more mainstream issue, leading to more interest in refurbish/recycling efforts nationally and globally. In the U.S., electronics comprise about 6% of our nation’s gross domestic product and e-waste makes up almost that much of our solid waste stream, but grows at a rate that is five times faster than the next-closest waste stream here.

The e-waste industry globally was a $6.9 billion market in 2009 and is expected to grow to $21 billion by 2020, according to GBI Research. [http://www.silvanus360.com/blog/global-e-waste-recovery-market-holds-enormus-revenue-potential-and-is-expected-to-reach-2-billion-by-2020/ ] Cities, states, provinces, nations, and other governments around the globe have been enacting e-waste laws and collection solutions at a fast pace, driving much of this fast-growing market. The European Union has been formulating and implementing electronic disposal regulations while the United States recently enacted directives for its federal departments and contractors to require e-waste recovery and recycling.

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The e-waste laws we see here in the United States are compelling, but are beginning to pale in comparison with the huge initiatives the Europeans are pushing – and getting.

In January, the European Parliament passed a new expansion of the European Union’s e-waste laws, called Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), first enacted under that name in 2003. The expansion require nearly half (45%) of all electronic goods sold during the three years leading up to 2016 be recycled and for that target to rise to 65% by 2019.

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