Manufacturers Are Now Responsible For E-Waste; Govt. Introduces New & Strict ‘E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016’

eWaste India

17 lakh tonnes is a big, huge number; and you would be surprised to know that India generates that much quantity of e-waste every year. And this number is increasing at a rate of 5% every year.

Developed countries like USA, UK etc have a dedicated, stringent policy for managing this new-world problem as more gadgets are consumed, more electronic equipment are thrown away and our environment is hammered with the wastage of silicon chips, wires and conductors.

In one of the major decisions, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has introduced a strict and practical ‘E-Waste Management Rules, 2016’, which will take over from the previous ‘E-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011’ which wasn’t enough to manage this massive problem of e-waste which has the potential to permanently harm our environment.

In fact, as e-waste is now generated 4 times faster than normal, solid waste, Government has made a timely, well intentioned decision to modify the rules, and introduce more sincerity and accountability in the whole process of managing it.

And thankfully, there are some major changes which will be welcomes by environmentalists and activists.

Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar launched the new rules pertaining to management of e-waste, as he said that Modi Govt. is focussed on protecting and nurturing our environment.

What Has Changed?

– For the first time in India, Manufacturer, Dealer, Refurbisher and Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) has been made responsible for managing the e-waste.

– Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) and other mercury containing lamp would be now part of e-waste management strategy; and this is a huge step as around 20% of e-waste generated comes from this product category.

– In an interesting strategy, Producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) would be now responsible for collecting the e-waste by establishing various ‘collection points’ based on their users’ demographic details, launching take back/buy back programs etc. This is a norm in Western countries, but now, India would also be part of this system. Excellent and intelligent decision by the Govt.

– Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has been made a big deal from now on, as producers are ‘encouraged’ to ensure optimal e-waste management by implementing Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO), e-waste exchange, e- retailer, Deposit Refund Scheme and more such methods.

– EPR would be now approved on pan-India level; compared to state level in the past. This will ensure quick, large scale implementation of e-waste management strategies for the producers.

– Under ‘Deposit Refund Scheme’, producers and sellers of electronic gadgets can now charge a refundable deposit from the customer at the time of selling. This deposit can be returned as and when the customer comes back and returns the gadget back. This will encourage more returns and thus e-waste management can be channelized optimally.

In India, there are around 4000 traders having 25,000 employees who are actually managing the e-waste generated all over the country. With such a huge problem, and such a small pool of resources, it is indeed remarkable how we Indians are managing 17 lakh tonnes of e-waste every year.

Hopefully, things would be organized and more focussed after the introduction of this new ‘E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016’.

You can find all the important pointers introduced in the draft here; and the differences compared to ‘E-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011’ here.

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