A healthy environment is not only desirable but is even enshrined in our Constitution under Article 21, where every citizen is given the Right to a healthy environment. But with the increasing pile of Waste, especially E-Waste whole biodiversity of India is affected. According to ASSOCHAM-NEC, a joint study on E-Waste, India, in terms of e-waste generation, is among the top five countries in the world.
Therefore, this hour demands for every producers’/Importers/Brand owner to fulfil the responsivity bestowed to them by the E-Waste (Management) Rules through Extended Producers’ Responsibility which primarily includes filling up the EPR Application.
Evolution of E-Waste and EPR
Although Electronic devices have been used for many decades but because their production process was expensive and time-consuming, there were very few people who used to have those; in return, the E-Waste generated out of them was manageable. But in the mid-1970s the, new technology was introduced, which made electronic devices more accessible, thus rendering the old devices and technology useless. Thus, marking the start of mounting amounts of E-Waste. . EU defines E Waste as electrical or electronic equipment that is Waste, including all components, subassemblies and consumables that are part of the product at the time of discarding.
After seeing the increasing amount of Electronic Waste and its detrimental effect on the health and environment, many countries, especially developing countries like the USA, banned illegal dumping of E-Waste by enacting The Resource Conserving and Recovery Act (RCRA), introduced in 1976 as a method to manage E-Waste. This Act was followed by many countries enacting their own legislation and rules regarding the management of E-Waste and Producers’ Responsibility to recycle this Waste.
It is estimated that India is ranking 3rd in terms of generating E-Waste with over 3.23 million metric tonnes per year. As per the reports, the E-Waste generation in India has risen up to 43% between the financial year 2018 and 2020. According to the 2020 Report of the Central Pollution Control Board, India generated 1,014,961 tonnes of e-waste in FY 2019-2020 – up 32% from FY 2018-2019. Of this, the report found that only 3.6% and 10% were actually collected in the country in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
With this amount of Waste, it is very important for the producers’ to fulfil their liability under EPR Policies to manage the E-Waste and recycle it effectively.
EPR (Extended Producers’ Responsibility), if understood simply, is the delegation of responsibility or liability on the producers for any electrical or electronic equipment they produce regarding proper management and environmentally sound disposal. It serves as an environmental protection policy that makes producers responsible that puts liability on the producers’ for the entire life cycle of the products, including the recycling, taking back and finally, disposal.
E-Waste (Management) Rules 2011 when introduced, were the first set of regulations which mainly address E-Waste and producers’ responsibility to set up collection centres, whether individually or by collaboration, in order to direct the waste for safe disposal. But, in spite of these regulations, there were no producers’ responsibility to be recorded; therefore, to make the laws more stringent and introduce the concept of Extended Producers’ Responsibility, the Act was an amendment in 2016 with mandatory take-back policies, specified targets and penalties for producers’ if they do not fill their EPR application and fulfil their EPR Policy. Under these rules, EPR is defined as Waste which is electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), whole or in part, discarded as Waste by consumers (individual or bulk) as well as rejects from manufacturing, refurbishment and repair processes.
Different categories of E-Waste
In India, under the E-Waste (management) rules 2016, E-Waste is categorized into two categories which include IT and Telecommunication equipment and Consumer Electricals and Electronics, which include TV, Fridge etc.
But the, E-Waste can also be categorized into: –
Large equipment: Washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashing machines, electric stoves, copying equipment, photovoltaic panels and large printing machines.
Small equipment: Microwaves, electric kettles, electric shavers, calculators, scales, video cameras, and minor electrical and electronic tools, remote monitoring, control equipment and electrical and electronic toys.
Screens, Monitors: Televisions, Monitors, Laptops, Tablets and Notebooks
Small IT and Telecommunication equipment: cell phones, GPS (global positioning system), printers, PC, routers, Telephones, and pocket calculators.
Lamps: LED Lamps, High-intensity discharge lamps, Fluorescents lamps
Temperature Exchange: Refrigerators, Freezers, Air Conditioners, Heat Pumps etc.
Consumer Electronic Products
Consumer Electronic Products are the electronic devices manufactured for purchase and used by the consumers for household needs or non-commercial ways. These are the most commonly used electronic products. The consumer products include:-
- Washing machines
- DVD players
The market size of India’s consumer Electronic Products is valued at 71.17 billion US Dollars in 2021, with an annual growth rate of 6.5% from 2022 to 2030. Therefore, in India, there is a lot of market for consumer goods that manufacturers can take advantage of, keeping in mind the regulations of the EPR Application set by the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016.
The procedure of filing for the EPR Application for Consumer Electronic Products
Registration of Extended Producers’ Responsibility under E-Waste (Management) rule, 2016 is stipulated to be mandatory for every manufacturer and Producer.
Every Producer listed in Schedule 1 of the Rule must apply within 90 days by completing Form 1 and mailing it to the Central Pollution Control Board. The process involves:-
- The request form is to be filled with all the appropriate facts, comprising the manufacturer’s name, particulars of the electronic devices, etc.
- The statistics should also include information on predicted E-Waste generation and collection targets for the coming year, as well as an overarching programme to achieve Extended Producer Responsibility.
- Once the information is filled, now the application form is referred to along with the mandatory document, which CPCB will then revise.
- If the applications are presented in accordance with the requirements, the Central Pollution Control Board will issue an Extended Producers Responsibility certificate.
To renew EPR Authorization, the Producer has to make an application before one hundred and twenty days of its expiry to the Central Pollution Control Board.
Documents to be submitted with the EPR Application under E-Waste Management Rules
The list of documents submitted along with the EPR Application:-
- The Copy of the permissions/licences from the relevant ministry/department for marketing various products or for doing the business is given below:
- TIN details
- PAN details
- Incorporation certificate
- Copy IEC in case of importers
- The Self-declaration for compliance with RoHS as per the format
- The Copy of authorization issued by the SPCBs/PCCs earlier under E-Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011 in the case of those producers who are operating in the country prior to 01-10-2016.
- the details of proposed awareness programmes and allied initiatives
- The Copies of the agreement document with dealers, collection centres, dismantlers, recyclers, treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) etc.
- Documents related to the EPR plan as envisaged in sections
- The Estimated budget earmarked for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
Why is it difficult to implement EPR in India?
Extended Producers’ Responsibility policy, although it puts liability on the producers/Importers/Brand owner, it will only be achieved in its entirety by equal participation of all the stakeholders involved in the whole life process of the product. The Major challenges faced while properly implementing EPR Policies include confusing provisions in the rules that make it difficult for the producers’ to understand the aspect of the EPR target. Apart from this, the producers’ also face trouble with documentation and technological challenge due to a lack of financial incentives.
While the Extended Producers’ Responsibility policies in India are in need of a modification for a better understanding of the Producers/Importers/Brand Owners, especially the confusion that occurs during the process of EPR Application, the main requirement is to fill the gaps of the knowledge in people regarding Environmental degradation, hazards of E-Waste and Responsibility of the producers’. This policy has been implemented in many countries where they have proven to be very beneficial; for example in, Europe has exceeded its collection targets which set a very good example for countries like India.