India has a massive waste management problem. As a developing nation with an unfathomable population, the country’s waste management capabilities have a hard time keeping up with our waste generation rates.
The most problematic type of waste to deal with is electronic waste. It takes a long time to process and has considerable costs involved with it. To cope with it and hold producers accountable, the government decided to implement EPR – Extra Producer Responsibility.
All technology hardware organisations have to abide by the government’s rules and regulations and play their part in e-waste management. Let’s see the role of EPR in e-waste recycling.
The need for EPR in e-waste management
E-waste is not just cumbersome to deal with; it also comes with more than a dozen harmful effects on the environment and the health of people who process it. E-waste produces many hazardous chemicals that diffuse with air and seriously deteriorate people’s health.
The toxins that come up due to e-waste are called e-toxins. Some of them are antimony, arsenic, chromium, lead, etc. They can have severe consequences such as nose bleeds, seizures, thyroid damage, skin cancer, and many more. Hence, it is crucial to have EPR implementations concerning e-waste recycling.
How EPR ties in with e-waste
Electronic hardware manufacturers are obligated to manage their equipment’s environmental impact after the end of the product’s life. It has far-reaching applications concerning the producers, consumers, collection centres, dismantlers, and recyclers. IT & telecommunication organisations are the primary targets for EPR.
The only exemptions from EPR are granted to small organisations because their environmental impact is so minuscule that it cannot be accurately quantified.
The evolution and refinement of EPR
EPR laws came into place in 2011, but they had many flaws and loopholes. The first and foremost that organisations faced was the ambiguous and tedious nature of EPR authorizations. They involved dealing with multiple SPCBs and many other flaws that made the system highly vulnerable, and hence, companies took advantage of ambiguities to their advantage.
Secondly, the financing mechanism was not elaborate or binding in many ways. While some medium scale organisations had trouble calculating and paying their dues properly, large scale companies did not have to go through the same issues. Moreover, MSEs were exempted from EPR, whereas they were a significant source of waste generation.
Revisions and improvements in 2016
In 2016, the government authorities took EPR more seriously and started working on laying down clear rules. They used a target-based approach and introduced many features like submitting PROs, e-waste exchange schemes, and deposit refund schemes.
Moreover, the regulations extended to pan India, allowing all enterprises to register themselves from the entire country. They further elaborated upon the collection procedure and clearly stated that it was the producer’s responsibility, and it required no separate authorization.
E-retailers and products like CFLs also came under the law’s purview, wherein they had to go through their due diligence in a structural procedure. The rules streamlined the process of taking permissions and state liability clauses upon failure of delivering on decided terms.