EPR – Extended Producer’s Responsibility – was introduced in India for the first time in 2011. The government felt that they needed to address the issue of e-waste urgently. India is one of the top 5 countries in terms of e-waste generation. To combat the problem, they introduced EPR guidelines.
EPR binds the producer to the environmental impact of their product and holds them accountable for processing it, recycling it, and ensuring that it goes through the relevant channels and does not harm the environment and people’s health because of e-toxin emissions.
When the guidelines were introduced in 2011, they did not have a proper structure, and companies would use many fallacies in the regulations to skim their workload. However, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change published the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016, on 23 March 2016.
These rules are more concrete and exhaustive. Here is an overview –
Addressing the producer clearly
The first rule aims to address specific issues and clear the relationship between the producer and the government. Manufacturer, dealer, refurbisher, and Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) have been introduced as additional stakeholders in the rules.
The applicability of the rules has been extended to components, consumables, spares, and parts of EEE in addition to the equipment listed in Schedule 1. To further make things easier for companies, an option has been given for setting up of PRO, e-waste exchange, e-retailer, Deposit Refund Scheme. It allows companies to have an additional channel for implementing EPR by Producers to ensure efficient channelization of e-waste.
One of the new laws also increases the scope of EPR to producers and corporations across the nation. For executing the same, provision for Pan India EPR Authorization by CPCB has been introduced, replacing the state-wise EPR authorization.
Rules on collection and refurbishing
New rules have been introduced to address the collection, recycling, and refurbishing in a detailed manner. Some of them are –
- The collection mechanism-based approach is now adopted to include collection centers, collection points, take-back stems, etc., collecting e-waste by producers under EPR.
- Collection and channelization of e-waste in Extended Producer Responsibility – Authorisation shall be in line with the targets prescribed in Schedule III of the Rules. The phase-wise Collection Target for e-waste, which can be either in number or Weight, shall be 30% of the quantity of waste generation as indicated in EPR Plan during the first two years of implementation of rules followed by 40% during the third and fourth years, 50% during fifth and sixth years and 70% during seventh year onwards.
- The e-waste exchange as an option has been provided in the rules as an independent market instrument offering assistance or independent electronic systems offering services for sale and purchase of e-waste generated from the end – of – life electrical and electronic equipment between agencies or organizations authorized under these rules.
Understanding their targets
Under the purview of new rules, it is clear that the authorities are making efforts at taking e-waste management more seriously. While the task’s scale is large, the government tries to make it easier for producers through various refund schemes and working closely with them.