New Rules in India Will Make E-Waste Recycling More Organized
The new rules issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on May 1, 2012, for the disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) is a welcome relief for an industry that is organized for businesses and unorganized for the individual consumer.
Many vendors exist to handle large scale e-waste, and they say less than one percent of their business comes from individual consumers. This ruling has got the industry wondering how it will get the consumer on board.
Currently, the Central Pollution Control Board has said that India is expected to exceed 8 lakh tonnes of e-waste this year, which is double of what it was last year. Industry estimates say 70 percent of e-waste generated is from businesses and 30 percent from consumers. While businesses have organized forms of disposing their e-waste, the challenge that lies ahead is the consumer. Here is where the new rules could make a difference if seriously implemented.
The 2011-2012 annual report of the MoEF says, “Producers are required to set up collection systems and meet the costs involved in the environmentally sound management of e-waste generated from the ‘end of life’ of their own products.”
These rules call the producer to have an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Now, producers are supposed to bear the cost of creating awareness among its customers as well as disposing their products in an environmentally-friendly manner. This goes above and beyond their current role of being with the customer until the warranty period expires.
Companies like Dell India have had programs in place where a free pick up of the product along with free recycling is provided to customers who ask for it. Upasana Choudhry, environmental manager, HP India, says: “In 2011, we have had 1,821 enterprise consumer touch points across 150 cities using our e-waste pick-up option. We have been working towards expansion of the program to include more cities and setting up more drop-off locations to achieve coverage over 20 states.”
Source: Forbes India Magazine
By Nilofer D’Souza