With a mission to become a leading IT solutions provider, Cerebra Integrated Technologies is on its way to set up one of India’s largest e-waste facility with a capacity of about 90,000 MT. The company has over 50,000 installations of PC’s and servers across the country. Its Director- Technical Support, Gururaja K Upadhya shares his vision and plans behind setting up this world-class facility in India with Priyanka Singh. He views India as a growing market for e-waste management, as the country’s annual e-waste generation stands at over 4.4 lakh tonnes, growing at 20% every year.
What kind of opportunity you see in India in e-waste management system? Tell us about your clientele as well?
last decade, the use of electronics has grown substantially, providing the
business world with increased capabilities, global networks, and faster results.
This shift to e-business has also introduced one of the rising problems in waste
management: ensuring the proper disposal and sustainable treatment of outdated
electronics. The environmentalists believe that handling e-waste, i.e.
recycling/reusing will become a major concern for the developed and developing
countries including India. As per IRG report 2008, India generates about 1,
46,180 tons of e-waste every year. This is contributed by both house-holds and
corporate houses. The majority of e-waste generation happens in the cities
listed below. Mumbai at present tops the list.
11, 017 tonnes
Various other reports say that by the end of year 2012, India will generate
2500000 MT Per Annum. E-waste recycling has the potential to generate decent
employment, cut greenhouse gas emissions and recover a wide range of valuable
metals including silver, gold, palladium, copper and indium. By acting now and
planning forward many countries can turn an e-challenge into an e-opportunity.
What are the projects that you are currently working on?
also planning to set up the White Goods Recycling, Automobile Catalyst Converter
plant and at a later stage, probably in 3-4 years from now, a plastic to fuel
plant in India.
Cerebra is setting up one of India’s largest e-waste facility (90,000 MT
capacity) and wants to be one of the leading players in this business which has
huge potential not only in terms of generating huge revenues and profits for the
company and its shareholders but also wants to contribute in a big way to the
Green environment issues that have taken off worldwide. Cerebra recognize that
it would be a big social responsibility to truly setup a world class e-waste
The industry for these solutions is still very nascent in India. Tell us about the market size, current trends, players in the market and the untapped opportunities here?
E-waste generation is not showing any signs of slowing down. India, at present, churns out about 400,000 tons of e-waste annually of which only 19,000 tonnes is getting recycled, according to MAIT. According to a report by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), India generates 3,50,000 tons of electronic waste every year and additionally imports another 50,000 tons. New surveys say that by the end of year 2012, India will generate 2.5 Million MT per annum of e-waste with the growth and development of new technology. E-waste is also growing every year which signifies that this e-waste market will not come down; it will increase every year. This is a huge market filled with opportunity.
What are the processes involved in the e-waste management? Can you explain the process and simplify the technology for our readers?
will have the highest capacity and most technologically advanced e-waste
‘Recycling & Recovery System’ in India, thus providing our customers with a
maximum economic benefit and maximum commodity return. All material sent to
Cerebra will be 100 percent recycled into 3 main commodities: metals, plastic
and glass. No electronics are placed in landfills.
Mechanical Dry Process Plant
Techniques – Separates Plastics & Metals
- Fully Automatic with PLC control
- Capacity – 12 MT per hour
- Total Capacity – 90,000 MT/Year
Precious Metal Refining
Refining Equipment Less Energy consumption Distillation Technique to save about
50percent of refinery chemicals Gold can be refined to 99.999 purity Precious
Most of us are really unaware about electronic wastes? What are the forms of this waste?
is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their
“useful life.” Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines
are common electronic products. Many of these products can be reused,
refurbished, or recycled. Unfortunately, electronic discards is one of the
fastest growing segments of our nation’s waste stream.
The discarded and end-of-life electronics products ranging from computers,
equipment used in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), home
appliances, audio and video products and all of their peripherals are popularly
known as Electronic waste (E-Waste). In most cases, e-waste comprises of the
relatively expensive and essentially durable products used for data processing,
telecommunications or entertainment in private households and businesses.
E-waste is not hazardous if it is stocked in safe storage or recycled by
scientific methods or transported from one place to the other in parts or in
totality in the formal sector. The e-waste can, however, be considered hazardous
if recycled by primitive methods. E-waste contains several substances such as
heavy metals, plastics, glass etc., which can be potentially toxic and hazardous
to the environment and human health, if not handled in an environmentally sound
manner. E-waste recycling in the non-formal sector by primitive methods can
damage the environment.
The ill effects of e-waste could be on soil through leaching of hazardous
contents from landfills; in water due to contamination of rivers, wells and
other water sources; in air due to emission of gases and burning of e-waste the
recycling process, if not carried out properly, can cause damage to human being
through inhalation of gases during recycling, contact of the skin of the workers
with hazardous substances and contact during acid treatment used in recovery
The hazardous and toxic substances found in e-waste include lead (Pb) and
cadmium (Cd) in printed circuit boards (PCBs). Lead is primarily found in all
electronic products/ assembly, cathode ray tubes (CRT) etc. Cadmium is found in
monitor/ CRTs while there may be mercury in switches and flat screen monitors.
Mercury is also found in CFL, relays and some other specific products. Besides
the cadmium in computer batteries, cadmium is also used for plating metal
enclosures/ metal parts in sub assemblies. Polychlorinated biphenyls are found
in capacitors and transformers and as brominated flame retardant on printed
circuit boards, plastic casings, cable and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cable
sheathing for insulation and PBD/PBDE in plastic parts of Electronics.
How are you being funded, is it the government funding or some aid from foreign companies?
expecting some subsidies from the government for this project. Otherwise the
funding has come in from PEs and Institutional Investors.
Unlike western countries,
India has a secondary market too for IT products. In western world, people might
easily discard products after use but in India, there are a lot of buyers for
second hand products. How do you fit in such an environment and create value for
manufacturing and support background has made it easy for us to set up our
‘Repair and Refurbishment’ processes. Part of the Computer e-waste collected
goes through repair and refurbishment process. These are then sold through NGOs,
IT dealers etc., in
Delhi, Tamil Nadu, U.P., Karnataka
What are the side-effects of the technology you use on the environment? How do you make sure that your technology does not have any harmful effect on the environment during the process?
effluent from the process plant is sent to effluent treatment plant. The
Effluent plant mainly consists of three stages,
- Purification and Recycling
Water Pollution Control:
effluent generated from the unit will be treated in an effluent treatment plant
consisting above mentioned units & confirmed to stipulate standards of the Board
and also it will be used for gardening, toilet flushing etc., after treatment to
the stipulated standard. The domestic effluent will be discharged to Septic tank
& Soak pit. The liquid from scrubber will be treated in the ETP before final
Air Pollution Control:
discharge of emission from the premises of the unit will be passed through the
stack/chimneys stipulated by the Board. The rate of emissions discharged and the
tolerance limits of the constituent forming the emissions in each of the
stack/chimney will not exceed the limits laid by the Board. Industry will
provide standby Air Pollution Control Equipments on line so that incase of
failure of the existing equipments. The samples of the emissions collected and
analyzed in the laboratory every day and the results are submitted to the Board.
Solid Waste Disposal:
industry will dispose of the solid waste generated from the process and from the
effluent treatment plant in a scientific manner without causing underground and
surface water pollution directly or indirectly. The factory premises will be
What is the annual e-waste of India as compared to other countries? Which are the countries that produce largest and least amount of e-waste?
Asia is largest emerging market with fast growing economy in the world. Due
to increase in per capita incomes and relatively young population structure,
consumption of EEE products is increasing exponentially. Recycling of e-waste in
Asia is still not well organized and established except countries like Japan,
Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore. Some of the major concerns are:
- Regulations may exist but enforcement is the key for success.
- Most of the e-waste problem in Asia is compounded by illegal dumping
from developed countries
- Illegal e-waste Imports help for new business opportunities and create
demand for second-hand EEE product usage (Reuse) but impact the environment.
Where does India stand in comparison to other countries in terms of e-waste generation?
Population of India stands at: 1,140 million (FY 2008). Growing at an annual
growth rate of about 20 percent, India generates over 4.4 lakh tonnes of e-waste
annually. It is going to increase up to 800000 MT by the end of 2012 and almost
half of all the unused and end-of-life electronic products lie waste in
landfills, junk yards and warehouses, the report notes. Computer equipment
accounts for almost 68 percent of e-waste material. This is followed by
telecommunication (12 percent), electrical (8 percent) and medical equipment (7
percent) with household e-scrap accounting for the rest 5 percent.
India, Mumbai ranks first in generating e-waste followed by Delhi, Bangalore,
Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat and Nagpur. The 10 states
generate 70 percent of the total e-waste. State wise generation of e-waste is as
follows: Delhi - 21.2 percent, Mumbai – 24 percent, Kolkata – 8.8 percent,
Chennai – 9 percent, Bangalore – 10.1 percent and Hyderabad- 6.2 percent.
(InfralineEnergy thanks Gururaja K Upadhya, Director-Technical
Support, Cerebra Integrated Technologies for sharing his valuable insights with our
readers. The column 'In-Conversation', is a platform to engage
experts from various sectors to share their views on the different
transformations happening in the Indian energy sector.)