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This article is written by Shreya Kasale, pursuing a Certificate Course in Introduction to Legal Drafting: Contracts, Petitions, Opinions & Articles from LawSikho.

This article has been published by Abanti Bose.

Introduction

Electronic garbage is abbreviated as “e-waste.” That is, electronic waste created by damaged, old, and excess gadgets. It’s also known as e-scraps by certain people. Toxic chemicals and dangerous compounds are commonly found in these electronics. In addition, improper disposal of these gadgets might result in the discharge of harmful compounds into our environment. The reprocessing and re-use of these electronic wastes are referred to as e-waste recycling. It’s straightforward. It’s a method for recovering materials from electronic trash. You may use them in new electronic items this way. Home equipment such as air conditioners, televisions, electric stoves, air conditioners, heaters, DVDs, fans, microwaves, and radios may all contribute to electrical waste. Computers, laptops, mobile phones, batteries, hard drives, circuit boards, and displays are examples of information technology equipment.

E-waste is, however, becoming more of a problem, and there has been a significant rise in health risks as a result of harmful compounds being released into the environment. E-waste recycling companies aim to assist businesses and organisations in getting rid of outmoded devices while also protecting the environment. As more organizations choose electronic recycling providers that are familiar with effective e-waste management processes, the E-waste management industry is growing at an exponential rate. Electronic recycling may help preserve landfills and dumps, as well as minimise greenhouse gas emissions and save natural resources. In order to provide refurbished items, such as mobile phones and laptops, it is necessary to give up obsolete gadgets.

Benefits of e-waste recycling

Recycling e-waste contributes to the conservation of natural resources

E-waste recycling aids in the recovery of valuable materials from obsolete or no longer in use electronic equipment. As a result, natural resources are saved and conserved. This is due to the fact that recycled garbage may now be used as a source of raw materials for businesses. As a result, going to Earth for raw resources is no longer necessary. So, certainly, getting copper, lead, or metal from nature is less necessary. To appreciate how much good this symbolises, keep in mind that these materials are not infinite.

It places an emphasis on environmental protection

E-waste recycling places an emphasis on environmental protection. It aims to make safe handling, processing, and management of hazardous and toxic compounds including lead, mercury, and cadmium a priority. All compounds are found in your electronic waste stream. Any shredded-particle dust must be disposed of in an environmentally acceptable way. Thanks to e-waste recycling, the threats that these substances generally bring to our environment are greatly decreased.

Creates jobs opportunities

E-waste recycling generates new employment opportunities for people such as professional recyclers. Furthermore, it has developed a secondary market where recycled materials are the principal commodity by doing so. The Environmental Protection Agency has released results that demonstrate the enormous economic benefits of e-waste recycling. This outperforms the REI Study’s findings from earlier in 2016. Recycling operations in the United States generated 757,000 employment, $6.7 billion in tax income, and $36.6 billion in compensation in a single year. By implication, recycling creates 1.57 jobs, pays $76,000 in salaries, and generates $14,101 in tax income for every thousand tonnes recycled. Isn’t there a lot of good that comes from trash? There’s more, though. You would have saved enough electricity to power 3657 families for a year if you recycle a million computers.

Minimizes global warming and saves landfills

Uncollected e-waste is often disposed of in landfills and incinerators. We can reduce the quantity of e-waste piling up at these locations by recycling it. This is because two-thirds of the garbage in landfills is biodegradable, meaning it may break down and return to its original state. As these pollutants degrade and disintegrate, they release hazardous gases (methane and CO2), which contribute significantly to global warming. Because landfills harm our local environment’s water and soil, initiatives like e-waste recycling that strive to alleviate these environmental problems are not only useful but also lifesaving.

E-waste Management Rules in India

On March 23, 2016, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change published the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016, which replaced the e-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011. Businesses must make provisions for the safe disposal of destroyed electronic goods, according to the guidelines. The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change are in charge of enforcing the restrictions.

Companies are being requested to segregate the trash at the source since the degradation of electronic devices would take longer and require a different process. The Extended Producer Responsibility Plan, which is part of the E-Waste Management Rules, was created by the Indian government to solve the problem. Companies should commit to recycling a minimum amount of the electronic devices they make under the proposal.

The E-Waste Management Rules provide a maximum limit for hazardous substances used in electronic device manufacture. The guidelines also outline the process for obtaining permission to handle e-waste from the Pollution Control Board.

Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers dealing in any of the following products are subject to these rules:

  • Mainframes, Minicomputers, Central Processing Units (CPUs), Input and output devices used in conjunction with CPUs, Laptop Computers, Notebook Computers, and Notepad Computers
  • Copiers, printers, and printer cartridges
  • Typewriters (electrical and electronic), teleprompter terminals, facsimiles, and telex machines
  • Cell phones, cordless phones, cellular phones, and answering machines
  • Televisions [including those with Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology]
  • Fridges, washers and dryers, and air conditioners are all examples of appliances (excluding centralised air conditioning plants)
  • Fluorescent lights, mercury-containing bulbs, and other electrical and electronic consumer goods.
  • E-retailers and stockists are likewise subject to these restrictions.
  • The following situations are exempt from these rules:
  1. If the assessee is a micro, small, or medium-sized business (MSME),
  2. If the assessee produces e-waste that contains radioactive.

Rules

  1. The organization must guarantee that the concentrations of the following substances do not exceed the following limits: 
  1. Lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers can be added to the product up to 0.1 per cent of the total weight.
  2. Cadmium is a chemical that can add up to 0.1% of the total weight of a product.
  1. The organisation should establish plans to gather electrical and electronic equipment that has outlived its usefulness. These products should be collected from customers and transferred to a dismantler’s or recycler’s warehouse. The organisation should make certain that no environmental damage occurs as a result of transferring such objects.
  2. A sign should be attached to the product to indicate that it should not be dumped with conventional trash. The emblem might be displayed conspicuously on the product or in the user handbook.
  3. The E-Waste Management Rules include the Extended Producer Responsibility Plan. Companies are encouraged to set up a deposit programme under the concept. The programme should state that the consumer who purchases the product must pay a deposit. When the product has reached the end of its useful life, the customer can return it to the organization and get a refund of the deposit plus interest. Customers should be able to use the scheme if the corporation creates a distinct department. The E-Waste Collection, Handling, and Disposal Department is the name of the department. This department’s responsibilities include:
  1. providing a platform for contact with consumers who desire to return obsolete electronic products to the organization; and
  2. collecting and preserving things in a manner that does not harm the environment.
  3. Send the products to a dismantler or recycler.
  4. Provide clients with a dedicated address, e-mail address, and toll-free helpline number to contact when they want to return obsolete electronic equipment.
  5. Ensuring that any deposits paid by customers at the time of purchase are repaid when the product is returned.
  1. Before sending mercury-containing items to a dismantler or recycler, the company should guarantee that they are properly immobilised. Mercury is transformed from its harmful form to a safer form when compounds containing mercury are immobilised. As a result, the risk of contamination to the environment is reduced.
  2. The maximum amount of time that e-waste can be stored is 180 days. The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) has the authority to extend the time limit to a maximum of 365 days. If the e-waste needs to be handled before being sent to a dismantler or recycler, the extension will be made.

If the organization fails to achieve the aforementioned criteria, it should discontinue producing electrical products. Only once the requirements outlined above have been satisfied will it be able to resume manufacture.

What are the filing requirements?

The organization should submit a Form-1 application to the SPCB for authorization. Within 120 days after the start of manufacturing, three copies of the form shall be provided to the SPCB. The following are the papers that should be attached to the form:

  1. A registration certificate from the District Industries Centre (DIC).
  2. The DIC issues a certificate of installed capacity of equipment and machinery.
  3. A declaration asserting that:
  1. In the production of electrical devices, the applicant employs environmentally friendly technology.
  2. The candidate has the necessary technical skills to deal with the e-waste created.
  3. The applicant can afford the facilities and equipment required to transport the produced e-waste to a recycler’s or dismantler’s warehouse.
  4. The applicant agrees to follow the rules set out by the Central Pollution Control Board for the creation of electronic waste.
  1. The SPCB will provide the authorization after performing the field inspection. The authorization is only valid for the time and location specified in the SPCB certificate. Within 120 days, the authorization should be given or denied. Once issued, an authorization is valid for 5 years. There are no charges associated with the application. However, there are costs associated with the field examination. The amount that must be paid varies by state.
  2. A Form-2 register should be kept by the organization. ‘Register of E-Waste Handled or Generated’ is the name of the register. This register is an internal record that the corporation should keep track of. As a result, there is no need to submit this form to the SPCB.
  3. Before the 30th of June, the corporation must file an annual return in Form-3. The quantity of garbage recycled by the organization during the year should be included in the return.

Conclusion

For a variety of reasons, e-waste recycling is a critical worldwide problem. It has a significant impact on our immediate surroundings as people, as well as life on Earth in general. It even offers substantial economic benefits to individuals, communities, and even nations.

Many individuals have begun to take advantage of the plethora of chances that e-waste recycling has to offer. Entrepreneurs in impoverished countries are using e-recycling as a reliable business source while also achieving environmental aims.

Despite the fact that the processes are labour-intensive, they are simple to follow. There are various processes involved, from gathering and separating to preparing for sale. Of course, we may gain directly from e-waste recycling while simultaneously helping to conserve the environment.


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