E-Waste Management

Electronic waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the country. Growth of Information and Communication Technology sector has enhanced the usage of the electronic equipment exponentially. Faster obsolescence and subsequent up-gradation of electronic products are forcing consumers to discard old products in an unparalleled manner, which in turn as led to an accumulation of huge e-waste in the solid waste stream. E-waste is growing in India at the rate of 10%. Most of this is recycled in the informal sector, endangering not only the lives of the people involved in the process but humanity in general as the process is carried out without any personal protective equipment and numerous harmful chemicals are released directly in the environment. 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). The ill effects of e-waste could be on soil through leaching of hazardous contents from landfills; in water due to the contamination of rivers, wells and other water sources; in air due to emission of gases and burning of e-waste.

Furthermore, due to lack of processes like recycling and refurbishing, we lose millions of dollars annually while also increasing our carbon footprint to up to 20%. The current government laws (up to 2018) provide for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and pushes towards a synchronisation of the efforts of Producers of Electronic and Electrical Equipment (EEE), the Pollution Control Boards (State and Centre) and the PROs. The current aim is to enable Producers to recycle most of what they produce and file returns with the designated pollution control boards. Further, the amended Rules revise the collection targets under the provision of EPR with effect from 1st October, 2017. By way of revised targets and monitoring under the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), effective and improved management of e-waste need to be ensured. As per the revised targets of e-waste collection, 10% of the quantity of waste generated shall be collected during 2017-2018. Further, there shall be a 10% increase every year until the year 2023. After 2023, the E-Waste collection target has been fixed at 70% of the quantity of waste generation.