E-waste or electronic waste refers to abandoned and discarded electronic items such as computers, information and communication technology equipment, audio, and video products, etc. E-waste export has increased dramatically in India as the IT sector has increased the use of electronic devices. E-waste contains various elements, including heavy metals, precious metals, and polymers, which can be poisonous and harmful to the environment and cause harm to individuals if not treated or managed correctly. E-Waste primarily comprises metals, plastics, and glass, which yield valuable metals such as copper, iron, tin, lead, zinc, silver, and gold when recycled. Furthermore, the printed circuit boards contain rare and precious metals such as rhodium, palladium, ruthenium, osmium, and others.
For e-waste export, you must first acquire approval from the MoEF, which stands for the Ministry of Environment and Forest, and the SPCB, which refers to the State Government’s State Pollution Control Board. The Ministry of Environment and Forest is the sole entity in charge of approving e-waste export from India.
Regulations on E-Waste Management
The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), under the Government of India, is the primary body for environmental policy, planning, promotion, and coordination, including electronics waste. The Environment and Forests Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules 2008 addressed e-waste export management. An exclusive notification on the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2010, enacted under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, to address the safe and environmentally friendly handling, transporting, storing, and recycling of e-waste and to reduce the use of hazardous substances during the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment. These rules took effect on May 1, 2012. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India issued regulations in 2008 for environmentally sound e-waste management, which should apply to all people who handle the waste.
Applicability of e-Waste management & Handling rules, 2011
These rules apply to the following rules apply to manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers that sell any of the following items:
- Mainframes, Minicomputers, Central Processing Units (CPUs), Input and output devices used in conjunction with CPUs, Laptop Computers, Notebook Computers, Notepad Computers.
- Printers, cartridges, and copying equipment.
- Typewriters, both electrical and electronic, teleprompter terminals, facsimiles, and telex machines.
- Telephones, cordless phones, cellular phones, and answering machines.
- Television sets [including Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Light Emitting Diode (LED)-based sets]
- Air conditioners, refrigerators, and washing machines (excluding centralised air conditioning plants).
- Fluorescent bulbs, mercury-containing lamps, and other consumer electrical and electronic devices.
- These regulations also apply to e-retailers and stockists.
These regulations do not apply in the following situations:
- If the assessee is a micro, small, or medium-sized business (MSME)
- If the assessee generates radioactive e-waste (as defined in section 2(1)(i) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1962)
Managing System of E-Waste export in India
The Environment and Forests Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2008, govern India’s e-waste management system. The E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules were also enacted to ensure the safe and environmentally friendly collection, segregation, dismantling, storing, recycling, transporting, and recycling of e-waste, as well as to reduce the use of hazardous substances during the manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment.
Indian Enforcement Agencies involved in E-waste export
The Indian Enforcement Agencies involved in E-Waste export are as follows:
i. The Ministry of Environment & Forests of the Government of India oversees identifying hazardous wastes and issuing permits to exporters and importers under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
ii. CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) was established under The Water (P&CP) Act of 1974. The CPCB coordinates actions with the State Pollution Control Boards and guarantees that import conditions are followed. It also monitors compliance with authorisation, and import and export conditions conducts training courses for authorities dealing with hazardous waste management, and recommends standards for waste treatment, disposal, leachate, and material specifications and procedures for hazardous waste characterisation.
iii. State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) established under the Water (P&CP) Act of 1974 to grant and renew an authorisation, monitor compliance with various provisions and conditions of an authorisation, forward importer applications, and review matters about identification and notification of disposal sites.
iv. Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Directorate established under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act 1992 to grant/refuse licences for hazardous wastes forbidden for importation under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
v. Under the Customs Act of 1962, port and customs authorities verify documents and notify the Ministry of Environment and Forests of illegal traffic. Wastes approved for imports and exports will be analysed, and officials will be trained on the terms of the Hazardous Wastes Rules and hazardous waste analysis.
vi. The certifying authority is the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) for allowing second-hand goods imports.
Documents required Export for E-Waste
The following documents are required for the issue of an E-Waste Exportation License-
- MoEF Permission Certificate / License for E-Waste Export
- MoEF NOC
- SPCB Consent Letter
Eligibility Criteria for license for the Export of E-Waste
The following are eligible for E-Waste export:
- E-Waste Producers
- E-Waste Dismantlers
- W-Waste Refurbishes
- E-Waste Manufacturers
- Electronic Device Mass Consumers
- E-Waste Collection Organizations
E-Waste eligible for Export
- Metallic, non-dispersible metal and metal alloy wastes;
- Metal and metal-bearing wastes include alloys of antimony, cadmium, lead, and tellurium.
- Contaminants in waste include antimony compounds, cadmium compounds, lead compounds, and tellurium compounds.
- Waste containing metal carbonyls.
- Galvanic Sludge
- Waste liquors from metal pickling.
- Leaching leftovers from zinc processing, dust, and sludges such as jarosite, hematite, etc.
- Zinc waste residues
- Electrical and electronic assemblies or scrap.
- Wastes are primarily composed of inorganic elements, although they may also contain metals and organic compounds.
- Antimony scrap in bulk completed form (sheet, plates, beams, rods, etc.) that is clean and uncontaminated. – Beryllium waste – Cadmium waste – Lead waste (excluding lead-acid batteries) – Selenium scrap – Tellurium scrap.
- Metallic dispersible molybdenum, tungsten, titanium, niobium, tantalum, and rhenium metal and metal alloy waste (metal powder).
- Nonferrous metal scrap containing cadmium, antimony, lead, and tellurium.
- Solids containing precious metal residues with traces of inorganic cyanides.
- Non-dispersible waste from mining operations.
- Glass garbage that is not dispersible.
- Sludge containing calcium fluoride.
- Multifunction printing and copying devices.
In India, most of the e-waste is recycled in unorganised units that employ many people. Metal recovery from PCBs using crude methods is a dangerous deed. Proper education, knowledge, and, most importantly, alternative cost-effective technology must be offered so those who earn a living from this can be provided with better means. A comprehensive solution is required to address India’s e-waste export management concerns. A suitable system must be developed to incorporate small units from the unorganised sector and large units from the organised sector into a single value chain. One solution would be for unorganised sector entities to focus on collecting, dismantling, and segregation, while the organised sector would handle metal extraction, recycling, and disposal.
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