Why is it in the news?
- Recently, the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) released a report on the circular economy in the Indian electronics sector, focusing on e-waste management.
- A circular economy aims to reintroduce e-waste components and precious metals into new electronics, reducing waste.
- The ICEA report suggests public-private partnerships to establish a comprehensive reverse supply chain for e-waste.
- Recommendations include creating auditable databases of collected materials and developing recycling clusters.
- Incentivizing high-yield recycling centres is crucial for maximizing product value.
- Encouraging repair and product durability is another policy recommendation to reduce environmental impact.
- The report suggests harnessing e-waste for economic opportunities and sustainability.
E-Waste Management in India
- E-Waste stands for Electronic Waste, referring to discarded electronic appliances and their components.
- E-waste management in India is primarily informal, with about 90% of collection and 70% of recycling handled by the informal sector.
- Informal sector specializes in salvaging older devices for parts and repairs.
- Industrial hubs like Moradabad extract precious metals like gold and silver from printed circuit boards (PCBs).
- Policy measures are needed to encourage manufacturers to reuse old components, as seen in China’s efforts.
Challenges in E-Waste Management in India
- Limited involvement of people in recycling electronic devices.
- Involvement of child labour in E-waste activities.
- Ineffective legislation and lack of public information.
- Health hazards from toxic materials in E-waste.
- Lack of incentive schemes for the unorganized sector.
- Cross-border flow of waste equipment into India.
- Reluctance and lack of coordination among authorities.
- Security implications, as end-of-life computers may contain sensitive data.
Provisions regarding E-Waste in India:
- India has had laws to manage e-waste since 2011, with the E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016 enacted in 2017.
- E-Waste Management Rules, 2016, amended in 2018.
- The Union Government introduced the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2022 to digitize and monitor e-waste management.
- Producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for collection and disposal.
- Introduction of Deposit Refund Scheme.
- Role of State Governments in ensuring safety and skill development.
- Penalties for rule violations.
- Urban Local Bodies tasked with collection and channelization of orphan products.
- Allocation of space for e-waste dismantling and recycling.
E-Waste Recycling Practices in India
- Informal sector handles 95% of e-waste, while the formal sector manages 5%.
- Non-formal units collect, disassemble, and chemically treat e-waste.
- Formal sector uses advanced processes and technologies, leading to efficient recovery.
- Recycling in the formal sector is economically viable due to shared capital equipment.
- Formal recycling has high efficiency and recovers trace-level metals.
Preliminary steps in E-Waste Disposal and Management
- Purchase fewer items and opt for recyclable or long-lasting products.
- Donate or give away electronics that are no longer needed.
- Consider selling unused electronic products.
- Raise awareness about e-waste recycling possibilities.
- Engage with informal sector workers for better e-waste management.
- Generate employment through cooperatives and expansion of E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016.
- Encourage consumer participation in responsible e-waste disposal.