Recently, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change made public the draft notification for electronic waste management rules. The rules, which have been put up for public feedback, are expected to come into effect by August, 2022.
A wide range of electronic goods, including laptops, landline and mobile phones, cameras, recorders, music systems, microwaves, refrigerators, electronic office equipment, computers, television sets , electronic entertainment devices and medical equipment have been specified in the notification.
Electronic-waste in India –
- According to a 2020 report by the Central Pollution Control Board, India generated 1,014,961 tonnes of e-waste in FY 2019-2020 – up 32% from FY 2018-2019.
- Of this, the report found that only 6% and 10% were actually collected in the country in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
- It also said that the informal sector controls more than 90% of e-waste collection and handling processes in the country.
- The latest draft guidelines for e-waste management proposes to have more of this waste to be handled by the formal sector.
What are the new changes?
- As per the draft notification, consumer goods companies and makers of electronics goods have to ensure at least 60% of their electronic waste is collected and recycled by 2023 with targets to increase them to 70% and 80% in 2024 and 2025 respectively.
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Certificates –
- Along with specifying targets, the rules also lay out a system for companies securing EPR certificates.
- These certificates certify the quantity of e-waste collected and recycled in a particular year by a company and an organisation. It may sell surplus quantities to another company to help it meet its obligations.
- Online Portal –
- Companies will have to register on an online portal and specify their annual production and e-waste collection targets.
- The chief entity that will coordinate the trade of EPR certificates and monitor if companies are meeting their targets is the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
- Penalty for non-compliance –
- Companies that don’t meet their annual targets will have to pay a fine or an ‘environmental compensation’ but the draft doesn’t specify the quantum of these fines.
- In fact, companies that fall short can meet a year’s target, even after three years.
- Those that meet their targets with a year’s delay will be refunded 85% of their fine, after two years, 60% and 30% after the second and third year respectively.
E-waste Management Rules, 2016 –
- Looking to growing problems of e-waste, the Central Government in the exercise of the powers provided under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 had notified e-waste management rules in 2016. These rules superseded the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011.
- The rules aims to enables the recovery and/or reuse of useful material from e-waste, thereby reducing the hazardous wastes destined for disposal and to ensure the environmentally sound management of all types of waste of electrical and electronic equipment.
- For the first time, the rules brought the producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), along with targets. Producers have been made responsible for the collection of E-waste and for its exchange.
- The manufacturers, dealers, e-retailers, and refurbishers have been brought under the ambit of these rules to ensure that the e-waste is effectively channelized and disposed of.
- The urban local bodies have been assigned the responsibility of collecting back the e-waste arising from the orphan products and channelising it to authorised dismantler or recycler.
- The EWM Rules, 2016, have prescribed strict criteria for achieving effective collection, transportation, storage, channelisation, and disposal of the e-waste in an environmentally sound manner.
- Provisions of penalty for violation of rules have also been introduced.
Amendment to EWM Rules, 2016 –
- In 2018, the EWM Rules were further amended.
- The new E-Waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018 has the provision of introduction of Producer Responsibility Organisation (PRO)
- PROs are now required to register with CPCB under the new Rules.
- PROs will also have to prove that all collection is legitimate and share proofs for such collection.
- Earlier, PROs were not able to procure waste from private and government institutions.
- The Rules address this lack of acknowledgement of legitimate PROs by asking them to register with CPCB.