When I started my journey of E-waste Recycling in January 2005, as the India’s very first E-waste Recycling Company in the organised sector, I was actually a trespasser in the otherwise dominated segment by the Kabadies or the informal sector. But when I started reaching out to large corporates and introduced the scientific way of handling e-waste, every single company preferred to avail services of Eco Recycling Ltd (Ecoreco). In my opinion, the major reasons under consideration were, Socio-Environmental Responsibility & Global Best Practices being followed by these Corporates in the developed Countries.

To regulate movement of E-waste for scientific recycling, Central Government first issued Guidelines in 2008, followed by E-waste Management Rules in 2011, then 2016 and now 2022 Rules are in force. Intention of the Policy Makers & Regulators is well understood with the evolving Rules to make them as effective & stricter as possible & plug off gaps, if any. The most important factor on which these Rules rely upon is Quantitative Targets for Producers to take back end of life equipment from end consumers and get them recycled, globally known as Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR). There is no doubt that EPR is effectively working in many a developed nation, where informal way of processing is negligible or does not exist and users of electrical & electronic devices as well as the processors gives greater importance to cleaner environment as against monetary gains.

Prevailing practices in India and for the transformation of the sector, what are the steps may be taken:

  • E-waste collection & reverse logistic is dominated by the Informal Workers (Kabadies).
  • It is an established fact that the price paid by the Kabadies for the e-scrap can never be matched by a formal-recyclers, who are Capex & Opex heavy and expected to meet environmental obligations & corporate compliances.
  • Kabadies neither have willingness nor “formal resources” to invest in a Recycling Facility, leads to Pollution and loss of Commodities.    
  • Unfortunately, Awareness is not successful until associated with Action. Every cigarette-smoker reads Injurious to Health, each time when he / she smokes, even than number of smokers have gone up substantially.
  • If resource recovery, circularity, sustainability, successful PLI, cleaner environment, better health and higher productivity are to be achieved, Government should encourage setting up more & more Recycling Centers with Capex & Opex support, selection of the supported entities must be done on stricter parameters with a right to take back support, if not found in order.
  • Environment Protection Responsibility (EPR) v/s Collection Based Responsibility, what is the need of the hour and what is really applicable in Indian context, where the supply chain of e-waste is dominated by the Informal Sector.
  • In the truest sense, until & unless, Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) concept is not implemented as Environment Protection Responsibility (EPR), till then real transformation of the sector may not achieve the desired objectives of the Environment Protection Act. In Indian Context, where waste is being traded and that too in cash, meeting actual targets is not feasible.
  • In my opinion, an e-waste is an e-waste, whether known as Communication Devices, I T Equipment or Home Appliances. Therefore, Producers (OEMs / Brands) may be simply be suggested to collect any e-waste equal to their targets in terms of weight and get it recycled.
  • I know for sure that the objective of Regulating & Channelising E-waste for Formal Recycling is to protect Environment & Ecology and not limited to achieve numbers only and hence, it may not be out of place to suggest that respective Pollution Control Boards may call open meetings with these informal workers and get them acquainted with the adverse impacts of burning, leaching etc. of these hazardous wastes and ask them to adopt environment friendly methodologies.

Also Read - The Importance of Lighting in Design: Techniques for Enhancing Space

About Author

Mr. B K Soni, CMD, Eco Recycling Ltd, Cost & Management Accountant, is the first-generation entrepreneur and credited for introducing organized e-waste recycling in the country. Mr. Soni was the president of Electronic Recyclers Association of India. He is a Member of the Board of Directors of MRAI. He was also a member of the Expert Group constituted by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board for studying e-waste scenario. Much ahead of time in 2004, Mr. Soni set up India’s the first authorized and registered e-waste recycling facility near Mumbai.

Ecoreco provides full spectrum of services including pan India reverse logistic network for collection & transportation of e-waste, asset recovery, refurbishment & remarketing of electronic equipment, data destruction, dismantling, recycling and segregation of valuable metal containing components besides its unique program of Skill Development for the waste workers as a funded partner of NSDC, provides Eco-Bin to facilitate seamless collection of e-waste, Producers Responsibility Organization (PRO) Services, e-waste recycling & award winning data destruction on wheels and lamp recycling on wheels facilities under the umbrella of Ecoreco.

For the convenience of the environment friendly generators of e-waste, Ecoreco introduced a Mobile App in the name of BookMyJunk, which has been admired by the PM Shri Narendraji Modi, in his Mann Ki Baat on 29th January, 2023. Recently, Ecoreco launched Recycling on Wheels-SmartER, which has been recommended by the PSA to all the Smart Cities for E-waste Management.

Ecoreco has received several awards from DST, Lockheed Martin, CII, FICCI, Good Governance Foundation, Sankalp, Frost & Sullivan and many other reputed entities for innovative ideas, unique business plan, niche market player award etc.

You cannot copy content of this page

Verified by MonsterInsights