Recycling e-waste: Govt proposes reducing manufacturer’s responsibility to 10%
Under e-waste rules, notified last year, manufacturers were required to take responsibility for recycling a portion of their output — a provision called extended producer responsibilitydelhi Updated: Nov 02, 2017 11:28 IST
The central government has proposed to relax targets for electronic waste to be recycled by manufacturers, attracting criticism from environmentalists.
The proposed amendment to the e-waste management rules 2016, hailed as a major step forward in tackling the country’s burgeoning waste problem, mandated that the producers would retrieve and safely dispose of 10% of their e-waste in the first year of enforcement, instead the earlier 30%. The amendment was notified on October 30.
Under e-waste rules, notified last year, manufacturers were required to take responsibility for recycling a portion of their output — a provision called extended producer responsibility (EPR).
The rules set progressive targets for waste collection and safe disposal. In the first two years after their enforcement (2016), producers are required to retrieve and safely dispose of 30% of their estimated waste generation, with the target increasing to 40% in the 3rd and 4th year, 50% in the fifth and sixth years and 70% from the seventh year onwards.
“The targets are lower initially but then there is a steep rise,” said a senior environment ministry official.
When asked about the proposed amendment to cut the initial target from 30% to 10%, he said, “We are giving time to the industry to prepare.”
Environmentalists have called the proposed amendment an attempt to dilute the e-waste rules.
“Have environmental standards improved in the country that they are diluting the laws?” Satish Sinha, associate director at Toxics Link, a Delhi-based NGO, said.
Industry sources said they were opposed to the EPR initially, but were willing to accept it if the targets set were “reasonable”. Bhupesh Raseen, a member of the Communication Mobile Association of India, had termed existing targets as “impractical”, given the current state of India’s waste management which relies heavily on the informal sector.
Sinha also said that the reliance on the informal sector has contributed to the problem of poor waste disposal and pollution.
The other major change is the introduction of a separate set of targets for new industries, that are lower than for the existing industries. “For new industries, we wanted to create a level playing field otherwise they will enter the market, exit it in a few years and leave the e-waste behind, “ the environment ministry official explained.
The notification allows 60 days for stakeholders to share their comments on the proposals.