It is estimated that 50 million tonnes of e-waste is globally per year. Half of this is personal devices such as computers, screens, smartphones, tablets and TVs, with the remainder being larger household appliances and heating and cooling equipment. Out of this, only 20 per cent of global e-waste is recycled each year, which means that 40 million tonnes of e-waste is either placed in landfill, burned or illegally traded and treated in a sub-standard way. India is ranked 5th in the world among top e-waste producing countries after USA, China, Japan and Germany. Hence, Consumers need to be encouraged to correctly dispose their e-waste, with increased reuse and recycling rates and adopt sustainable consumer habits to move towards a circular economy. Also, users discard old appliances much faster than before, the volume of waste growing at an estimated 21 per cent annually. This means that by 2020, e-waste from televisions will be 1.5 to 2 times higher; from discarded refrigerators will be double; than their respective 2007 levels. Unfortunately, India is still ill-equipped in skilled labour to handle e-waste recycling. Only 1.5 per cent of e-waste generated in India gets recycled. Zero awareness about e-waste and its recycling, as well as the role of the unorganised sector are the major challenges to the problem.
So what can a consumer do to responsibly discard their old electrical appliances?
Most companies have exchange or buyback offers where consumers can sell their old home appliances while buying a new one. Amazon India offers buyback programme for large appliances like washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioners in select cities. Flipkart also has a similar scheme. The buyer has to first evaluate the value of the old appliance, if eligible they will call and confirm within two days, and pick up the old appliance and hand over cash 1 – 2 weeks of the exchange form submitted by the customer. This can be mostly used for both working appliances. Apart from online retailers, most manufacturers themselves have exchange offers like Prestige, Whirlpool, LG, Samsung etc. Exchange any old product (cookware or appliance) of any brand, in any condition and choose your new latest product and avail fantastic discounts. You can also be assured that the appliance is recycled responsibly.
|Easy procedure, just a phone call is needed||Dependent on manufacturer – not available with all companies in all cities|
|Reliable disposal||Forced to buy next product from same manufacturer|
There are several websites, where old appliances can be sold. For example Quikr, OLX, Craigslist, etc. This works well if you have just one or two items to sell. Just take a picture of the appliance and register on one of those websites. Then all you have to do is wait for buyers to call you.
|Convenient – can be done on mobile itself||Appliance has to be in working condition|
|Works from far places too||Fetching price may be low|
Hire a Junk Removal Service
Most junk removal companies will accept old appliances for either recycling or disposal. This option is great for getting rid of one or two hard-to-get-rid-of items. But if you’re throwing out more than that, you may want to look into other options, as their prices are determined by how much space your items take up. One such company is Zefo. They take several waste items including electronics, furniture and even construction debris.
|Guaranteed||Involves a little cost|
|Quick service||Longer procedure|
|Can dispose varied items|
Local Scrap Metal Retailers
You could also try to make a little money off of your old appliance by hauling it to your local scrap metal dealer. Most metal recyclers will accept appliances for sale as scrap, making this a great way to get rid of appliances for free. This works well if you have several varied items for disposal.
|No cost||Fetching price is low|
|Easy process||Cannot guarantee safe disposal|
|Accepts varied waste items||Have to carry items till disposal site|
If your appliance doesn’t have any major problems, you can simply donate it. In fact, many charities offer appliance pickup for no charge, making this a great way to get rid of old appliances for free. Before donating your appliance, make sure that the item is in good, working condition. If you can’t spend the time finding a charity, you can simply donate it to your maid or less well-off friends.
|Is socially responsible||No money in return|
|No service cost involved||More time-consuming; may be difficult to find the right charity|
|Item should be working|
Keep as backup
If the appliance is working, you can always keep it as a backup option at home, or for use at a different location, say in an office. In case something goes wrong with one, you could always rely on the other. Especially if you have sentimental attachments to the appliance, this makes sure it remains with you for a longer time.
If it is not working, you could repair it using the comfortable and reliable services of ServiceTree.
|Carries on sentimental value of|
|Occupies space unnecessarily|
|Saves money||It may stop working at any time|
Whatever be the method you choose for disposal of your old appliance, make sure that it entails safe and responsible recycling of the e-waste involved. Mindless dumping in the landfill will cause several health risks resulting from direct contact with harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, chromium, brominated flame retardants or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), from inhalation of toxic fumes, as well as from accumulation of chemicals in soil, water and food. In addition to its hazardous components, being processed, e-waste can give rise to a number of toxic by-products likely to affect human health.
Before buying a new appliance you could rethink about repairing your old appliance it is an economical good option also good for earth too.