Your local scrap dealer would soon offer you vouchers redeemable at electronics stores in exchange for your dead computer or old cellphone. He may have other interesting schemes.
This innovative idea too was born out of necessity: Electronic goods manufacturers’ fear of penal action under electronic waste management rules, which requires setting up of collection centres for electronic waste. The rules, based on the European model of mandatory take-back policy and adopted by India in 2011, has made manufacturers liable for collection of used electronic products.
Two years since the rules were notified, the companies have failed to set up the collection centres knowing well that they will not work because people prefer to give all their e-waste to the neighbourhood ‘kabidiwallah’ or scrap dealer.
“The kabidiwallah has to be nodal point for collection of e-waste for the system to work and a link for its proper disposal,” Ravi Aggarwal of NGO Toxiclink told HT recently.
Now, the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank-affiliated body, has created this vital link between local scrap dealers, recycling companies and the electronic goods manufacturers as groundwork for India’s first door to door e-waste collection system.
The network was launched in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Ahemdabad this week and would be expanded to other cities if it works well.
“We have 15 companies such as Voltas, Samsung, Wipro and HCL on board for the project,” said a Subrata Burman, senior operations officer at IFC. “Another 200 would be joining soon.” If the project takes-off, you would be able to get a reasonable offer to sell your used laptop, printer, television or refrigerator to your scrap dealer. An old, dead mobile may fetch anything between Rs. 200 to Rs. 1,000 depending on its condition. A laptop may get you a little more.
But your old fridge or TV may not get you much because of its high transportation cost to the recycling unit. “The companies have agreed to provide vouchers to incentivise proper disposal of all types of electronic waste,” an IFC official said.
The project is aimed to tackle the growing environmental hazard of e-waste, expected to be around 18.51 lakh tonnes by 2025 from just 1.47 lakh tonnes in 2005.
But it has a sociological aspect. A huge informal sector that segregates different components of electronic waste and then melts them to produce the metal can get eliminated. The electronic waste collected by the scrap dealers would be given directly to recycling company Attero.