E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 - A Critical Analysis
Scientific and technological advancements and mismanagement of natural resources have given rise to numerous environmental problems such as pollution of water, soil, air radiation and noise, with consequent adverse effect on flora and fauna, human health and well-being.These problems are actually caused by rapid, unprecedented and unplanned development programmes in the guise of industrialization. Electrical and electronic equipment though contribute to the
Electronic waste or e-waste cause a great impact on environment, therefore, there is a need to curve this menace. The Central Government makes various Acts and Rules for the management and re-use of e-waste such as:
a) Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989;
b) Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998;
c) Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001;
d) Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary
Movement) Rules, 2008;
e) E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011; and
f) E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016.
Electronic wasteore-wastedescribes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling or disposal are also considered e-waste. Informal processing of e-waste in developing countries can lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution.
Meaning of E-Waste
Electronic wasteincludes waste from electronics, including discarded mobile phones, refrigerators, electronic office equipment, computers, television sets and electronic entertainment devices.
"Electronic waste" may be defined as discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment device electronics, mobile phones, television sets, and refrigerators. This includes used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal. Others are re-usable (working and repairable electronics) and secondary scrap (copper, steel, plastic, etc.) to be "commodities", and reserve the term "waste" for residue or material which is dumped by the buyer rather than recycled, including residue from reuse and recycling operations.
‘e-waste’ means waste electrical and electronic equipment, whole or in part discarded as waste by the consumer or bulk consumer as well as reject from their manufacturing, refurbishment and repair processes.
One of the major challenges is ‘recycling’ the printed circuit boards from the electronic wastes. The circuit boards contain such precious metals as gold, silver, platinum, etc. and such base metals as copper, iron, aluminum, etc. One way ‘e-waste’ is processed by melting circuit boards, burning cable sheathing to recover copper wire and open-pit acid leaching for separating metals of value. Conventional method employed is mechanical shredding and separation but the recycling efficiency is low. Alternative methods such ascryogenic decompositionhave been studied for printed circuit board recycling, and some other methods are still under investigation. Properly disposing of or reusing electronics can help prevent health problems, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and create jobs. Reuse and refurbishing offer a more environmentally friendly and socially conscious alternative to down cycling processes.
Benefits of Recycling:
Recycling raw materials from “end-of-life” electronics is the most effective solution to the growing e-waste problem. Most electronic devices and their parts contain a variety of materials, including metals that can be recovered for future uses. By dismantling and providing reuse possibilities, intact natural resources are conserved and air and water pollution caused by hazardous disposal is avoided. Additionally, recycling reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacturing of new products. Another benefit of recycling e-waste is that many of the materials can be recycled and re-used again. Materials that can be recycled include "ferrous (iron-based) and non-ferrous metals, glass, and various types of plastic." “Non-ferrous metals, mainly Aluminum and Copper can all be re-smelted and re-manufactured. Ferrous metals such as steel and iron can be also being re-used."Due to the recent surge in popularity in 3D printing, certain 3D printers have been designed (FDM variety) to produce waste that can be easily recycled which decreases the amount of harmful pollutants in the atmosphere.The excess plastic from these printers that comes out as a byproduct can also be reused to create new 3D printed creations.
There are various laws which directly or indirectly deal with hazardous wastes and toxic substances. One of them is the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 which comprehensively deals with environmental problems. Section 6 expressly empowered the Central Government to make rules on various items including 1) the procedures and safeguards for the handling of hazardous substances and 2) the prohibition and restriction on the handling of hazardous substances in different areas.
E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016
Looking to growing problems of e-waste, the Central Government in the exercise of the powers provided under Sections 6, 8 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 has notified these rules. E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 supersede the E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. It consists of 24 rules divided in Six Chapters and four Schedules. The rules aims to enables the recovery and/or reuse of useful material from e-waste, thereby reducing the hazardous wastes destined for disposal and to ensure the environmentally sound management of all types of waste of electrical and electronic equipment. These rules shall come into force from 1stOctober, 2016.
These rules shall apply to every Producer, Consumer and Bulk Consumer, Manufacturer, collection centers, dealers, e-retailer, refurbisher, dismantler and recycler involved in the manufacture, sale, purchase and processing of electrical and electronic equipment, including their components, consumables, parts and spares which make the product operational but shall not apply to-
a) Used lead acid batteries as covered under the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001 made under the Act;
b) Micro enterprises as defined in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (27 of 2006); and
c) Radio-active wastes as covered under the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962) and Rules made there under.
Responsibilities of Manufacturer, Producer, Collection Centers, Dealers, Refurbisher, Consumer/Bulk Consumer, Dismantler and Recycler:
What are the responsibilities of the manufacturer, producer, collection centers, dealers, refurbisher, consumer/bulk consumer, dismantler and recycler in relation to e-waste management are the subject-matter of Rules 4 to 12.
a) Responsibilities of Manufacturer:
Ø The manufacturer shall be responsible to collect e-waste generated during the manufacture of any electrical and electronic equipment and channelise it for recycling or disposal;
Ø The manufacturer shall ensure that no damage is caused to the environment during storage and transportation of e-waste and also file annual returns to the concerned State Pollution Control Board on or before the 30th day of June.
b) Responsibilities of Producer:
Ø The producer shall be responsible for the collection of e-waste generated from the ‘end of life’ of their products and channelizing it for recycling or disposal. And to ensure that such e-waste are channelized to registered dismantler or recycler.
Ø The import of electrical and electronic equipment shall be allowed only to producers having Extended Producer Responsibility-Authorization and also filing annual returns to the Central Pollution Control Board on or before 30thJune of following financial year.
Ø The producer shall also be responsible for providing contact details such as address, telephone numbers/helpline numbers to consumer(s) or bulk consumer(s) so as to facilitate return of used electrical and electronic equipment.
Ø Further, the producer shall be responsible to create awareness among consumers or bulk consumers with regard to hazardous constituents, hazards of improper handling and improper recycling of e-waste and instructions for handling the equipment after its use along with do’s and don’ts.
c) Responsibilities of Collection Centers:
Ø The collection centres are responsible to collect e-waste on behalf of producer or dismantler or recycler or refurbisher.
Ø The collection centre shall also ensure that e-waste collected by them is stored in a secured manner and no damage is caused to the environment during storage and transportation.
Ø The collection centre shall file annual return to State Pollution Control Board on or before the 30thday of June and also maintain the records of the e-waste.
d) Responsibilities of dealers:
Ø The dealer shall collect the e-waste by providing the consumer a box, bin or a demarcated area to deposit e-waste, or through take back system and send the e-waste so collected to collection centre or dismantler or recycler. The dealer or e-retailer shall refund the amount as per take back system to the depositor of e-waste;
Ø Every dealer shall ensure that the e-waste thus generated is safely transported to authorised dismantlers or recyclers and no damage is caused to the environment during storage and transportation of e-waste.
e) Responsibilities of the refurbisher:
Ø Refurbisher is responsible to collect e-waste generated during the process of refurbishing and channelise the e-waste to authorised dismantler or recycler through its collection centre.
Ø The refurbisher shall ensure that no damage is caused to the environment during storage and transportation of e-waste, processing does not have any adverse effect on the health and the environment and also ensure that the e-waste thus generated is safely transported to authorized collection centres or dismantlers or recyclers.
Ø The refurbisher shall also file annual returns to the concerned State Pollution Control Board, on or before the 30thJune following the financial year.
f) Responsibilities of Consumer or Bulk Consumer:
Consumers or bulk consumers shall ensure that e-waste generated by them is channelized to authorized collection centre or registered dismantler(s) or recycler(s) or returned to the pick up or take back services provided by the producers and also shall maintain the records of e-waste generated by the bulk consumer.
g) Responsibilities of Dismantler:
Ø Every dismantler shall obtain authorization and registration from the State Pollution Control Board.
Ø Also the dismantler shall ensure that no damage is caused to the environment during storage and transportation of e-waste, no adverse effect on health and environment.
Ø Also the dismantling processes shall be in accordance with the guidelines published by the Centre Pollution Control Board from time to time.
Ø The dismantler shall also ensure that non-recyclable or non-recoverable components are sent to authorized treatment storage and disposal facilities.
h) Responsibilities of Recyclers:
Every recycler shall ensure that the facility and recycling process shall be in accordance with the guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board from time to time and residue is disposed of in a hazardous waste treatment storage disposal facility.
Procedure for Seeking and Grant of Authorization for Management of E-Waste:
Procedure for seeking and grant of authorization for management of e-waste contains under Rules 13 and 14 of the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016.
Every producer, manufacturer, refurbisher, dismantler and recycler of e-waste shall obtain an Extended Producer Responsibility – Authorization or Authorization as the case may be from Central Pollution Control Board or the State Pollution Control Board as the case may be.For getting Extended Producer Responsibility – Authorization or Authorization they shall make an application within a period of 90 days or 120 days as the case may be starting from the date of commencement of the rules to the State Pollution Control Board or the Central Pollution Control Board.
The State Pollution Control Board or the Central Pollution Control Board after making enquiry grant an authorization within a period of 120 days and such authorization shall be valid for a period of five years.An application for renewal of Extended Producer Responsibility – Authorization or Authorization shall be made before 120 days from the expiry of given time period (5 years). The State Pollution Control Board or the Central Pollution Control Board may renew the authorization if there is no violation of rules.
If the holder of authorization has failed to comply with any of the conditions of authorization or the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the State Pollution Control Board after giving reasonable opportunity to be heard in writing shall suspend or cancel the authorization for such period as it consider necessary for public interest and inform Central Pollution Control Board within ten days of cancellation.
Procedure for Registration with Central Pollution Control Board or State Pollution Control Board:
Every manufacturer, refurbisher, dismantler or recycler of e-waste shall make an application for the grant or renewal of registration of consent to establish plant and collection centre; certificate of registration issued by the District Industries Centre; proof of installed capacity of plant and machinery issued by District Industries Centre. Such application shall be disposed of within a period of 120 days from the date of receipt of application.
The State Pollution Control Board after satisfying that the application is complete in all respects and the applicant is utilizing environmentally sound technologies and possess adequate technical capabilities, requisite facilities and equipment to recycle and process e-waste may grant registration. Such registration shall be for a period of 5 years.
Every manufacturer, producer, bulk consumer, collection centre, dealer, refurbisher, dismantler and recycler may store the e-waste for a period of 180 days and also shall maintain a record of collection, sale, transfer, storage and segregation of wastes and make these records available for inspection.There is no time period has been fixed for inspection.
Reduction in the Use of Hazardous Substances in the Manufacture of Electrical and Electronic Equipment and their Components or Consumables or Parts or Spares:
Every producer of electrical and electronic equipment and their components or consumables or parts or spares shall ensure that new electrical and electronic equipment and their components or consumables or parts or spares shall not contain Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominate biphenyls or Polybrominate diphenly ethers beyond a maximum concentration value of 0.1% in Information Technology and Telecommunication Equipment and Consumers electrical and electronic equipment. But the electrical and electronic equipment and their parts placed in the market before 1stMay 2014, the restriction of above materials is not allowed. There is no punishment if any producers exceed the concentration fixed under rule 16.
Every producer, dealers, collection centers, refurbishes, dismantlers, recyclers, auctioneers, consumers or bulk consumers shall not import used electrical and electrical equipment in India for use without the compliance of these rules.
The concerned State Pollution Control Board shall prepare and submit to the Central Pollution Control Board an annual report with regard to the implementation of these rules by the 30thSeptember every year. Also the Central Pollution Control Board shall prepare the consolidated annual review report on management of e-waste and forward it to the Central Government along with its recommendations before the 30thDecember every year.
Every appeal shall be filled within a period of thirty days from the date on which the order is communicated to aggrieved person to the Appellate Authority comprising of the Environment Secretary of the State.
Conclusion and Suggestions
While formal dismantlers and recyclers are very aware of the health and environmental problems surrounding e-waste, the informal collectors, traders, dismantlers and recyclers working with e-waste are often either unaware of the problems or do not see the necessity to act upon them. The collectors have no reason to change anything, as their business causes harm neither to the environment nor to health. The same applies to the waste traders who often do not even see the waste but rather coordinate the waste flow. The problems affect informal dismantlers and recyclers most. As a result, the severity of the environmental and health hazards depends very much on the processes applied. While the workers are often aware of the problems, they are unable to change anything. Due to the illegal nature of their business, they have no possibility to ensure that the e-waste is recycled in an environmentally and health friendly way.
The awareness among manufactures has increased over the last couple of years. Until recently the manufacturing industry was very reluctant to associate itself with the problem and acknowledge its responsibility. A study conducted by Greenpeace India in 2008 assessed which manufacturers had a take-back policy in place and actual take-back systems in operation. Of the 20 monitored brands, nine had no take-back service in place. Several had only one collection centre or limited the take-back to one product (e.g. mobile phones).
Moreover, the majority of the brands had no information on their take-back systems on their websites and none of them had spent a considerable amount of money on raising awareness.
There are no guidelines given to consumer or bulk consumer for the handling of electrical and electronic equipment. Also there are lengthy procedures in case of financial penalty pay in case of violation of rules mentioned under E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016.
The result of the implementation of E-Waste (management) Rules, 2016 has still to come.
Some of the suggestions for the management of e-waste are as follows:
1.The producers and collection centers should mention their address, telephone number and e-mail clearly on the equipment which are visible to the consumers clearly.
2.Manufacturing the product in such a way that it uses the least amount hazardous materials.
3.Using safe non-renewable materials that are safer and can be reused repaired or upgradable is the best way of ensuring in the reduction of e-waste.
4.Consumers must buy only those products that are energy efficient.
5.E-wastes should never be disposed with garbage and other household wastes.
6.NGOs should adopt a participatory approach in management of e-wastes.
7.The producer and manufacturer should give a handbook detailed of hazardous effects, handling measure, contact details of manufacturer, refurbisher, dismantler, dealers and guidelines to avoid e-waste to consumers/bulk consumer along with the electrical and electronic equipment.
8.The unloading of e-waste/end of life products should be carried out in such a way that there should not be any damage to health, environment and to the product itself. Unloading of Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT), LCD / LED / Plasma TV, refrigerator, air conditioners and fluorescent and other mercury containing lamps should be carried out under supervision in such a way to avoid breakage.
9.The refurbishing area should be ventilated and have proper dust control equipment. Also de-dusting system over refurbishment tables should be provided.
# Satish C. Shastri,Environmental Law177-178 (Eastern Book Company, Lucknow, 4thedn., 2012).
# http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/electronic_waste(visited on Dec. 3, 2016).
# http://planetgreenrecycle.com/fundraising/e_waste_problem(visited on Dec. 3, 2016).
# Supran 2.
# See: Rule 3 (r), E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016.
# Supran 2.
# Supran 1 at 179.
# See Rule 1, E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016.
# Id., Rule 3(cc).
# Id., Rule 3(h).
# Id., Rule 3(c).
# Id., Rule 3(z).
# Id., Rule 3(e).
# Id., Rule 3(j).
# Id., Rule 3(q).
# Id., Rule 3(gg).
# Id., Rule 3(l).
# Id., Rule 3(ee).
# Id., Rule 3(p).
# Id., Rule 3(f).
# Id., Rule 3(g).
# Id., Rule 3(bb).
# Id., Rule 3(ii).
# Id., Rule 2.
# Id., Rule 4(1).
# Id., Rule 4(3) & (5).
# Id., Rule 5(1) (a) & (b).
# Id., Rule 5(3) & (5).
# Id., Rule 5(1) (e).
# Id., Rule 5(1) (f).
# Id., Rule 6.
# Id., Rule 7.
# Id., Rule 8.
# Id., Rule 9.
# Id., Rule 10(2).
# Id., Rule 10(3) & (4).
# Id., Rule 10(1).
# Id., Rule 10 (6).
# Id., Rule 11.
# Id., Rule 13.
# Id., Rule 14.
# Supran 42.
# Id., Rule 15.
# Id., Rule 16(1).
# Id., Rule 16(2).
# Supran 1 at 193.
# Id., Rule 18.
# Id., Rule 22(1).
# Alexandra Skinner, Project Report on “Does the Basel Ban form an effective and sustainable means of addressing the health and environmental problems caused by the export of e-waste from developed countries to developing nations and countries in transition?”66 (Free University of Berlin, 2010).Availableat: ewasteguide.info/files/skinner_2010_ffu.pdf (visited on Dec. 3, 2016).
* Ph.D. Scholar, Law Department HPU, Shimla
development and progress of a nation, their wastes and toxic effluents discharged freely in the air, water and on land are doing irreversible and irreparable damage to mankind. Similarly, unbridled exploitation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources without caring for the waste debris has caused ecological imbalances and environmental pollution problems.