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    Recycle all your wasted electronic gadgets like server, tv, monitor
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    We take e-waste but leave you richer with a resource pool of multi-benefits
    and greater sense of satisfaction.

Where’s our e-waste going?

The global volume of electronic waste is expected to reach 52.2 million tonnes or 6.8 kg per person by 2021

Do you remember where the Walkman you bought 20 years ago is? Or the CD player you upgraded to? The phone you changed six months ago? Chances are you won’t — they are probably stocked away in that long-forgotten cupboard in the guest room. Or worse, lying in one of the city’s dumping yards.

A recent UN report — A New Circular Vision for Electronics — highlights that the world produces as much as 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) a year, weighing more than all of the commercial airliners ever made. And only 20% of this is formally recycled. And India continues to generate the highest amount of e-waste (assocham.org) when compared to China, the U.S., Japan and Germany: and this comprises discarded headphones, desktops, keyboards, chargers, motherboards, television sets, airconditioners, refrigerators… the list is endless. The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 52.2 million tonnes or 6.8 kg per person by 2021, and with India importing large amounts of e-waste, tacking the mounting issue is an important point of discussion.

Red alert

Studying the consumption and disposal patterns of electronic giants — since the first e-waste rules were notified in India in 2011 — is New Delhi-based environmental research organisation, Toxics Link. In their 2019 report, Time to Reboot III (the first part of the series was out in 2014), 54 electronic brands were ‘assessed and rated on their implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and did not find substantive change on ground’. The companies were rated on several criteria such as take back policy, RoHS compliance, e-waste collection target achieved, consumer awareness, and also their on-ground collection system. Only seven companies were found to have efficient systems in place, 13 were rated average, and 29 were below-average. Five brands are in the red for poor compliance of EPR policies. If the present scenario continues, global e-waste production is all set to reach 120 million tonnes per year by 2050.

On-ground

Even if we look at the e-waste sent to recycling, only 20% is formally recycled, with the remainder 80% either ending up in landfills or being informally recycled. Says the UN report, “much of it by hand in developing countries, exposing workers to hazardous and carcinogenic substances such as mercury, lead and cadmium. E-waste in landfill contaminates soil and groundwater, putting food supply systems and water sources at risk.” Many studies have proven the effects of high and prolonged exposure to such materials but our electronics makers continue to employ workers with no protective gear. In India, over 95% of e-waste generated is managed by the unorganised sector and scrap dealers who dismantle the disposed products rather than recycle them. Electronics are stored in open yards, further increasing the risk of electric leakages.

But we not only need to look into the health impacts of e-waste management, but also how it results in the loss of valuable raw materials such as gold, platinum and cobalt.

What you can do is identify ethical recyclers in your city and hand over your discarded electronics. Get your friends and neighbours on board too. Most importantly, be mindful of the products you buy and the frequency with which you do so — do you really need a new phone every year? Or a pair of earphones just because they are on sale? We’re all mindful of our digital footprint today, so why not extend it to the number of devices we use?

Reference: The Hindu Dated: AugustT 26, 2019 Article by : Nidhi Adlakha

What is India doing with its 2 million tonnes of e-waste every year?

Last month, the United Nations reported a startling statistic: the world generated 44.7 million tonnes of electronic waste in 2016 — equivalent to the weight of some 4,500 Eiffel Towers. India’s contribution to this was a significant 2 million tonnes.

And despite new rules that have come into place to safely process this hazardous material, close to 80% of e-waste — old laptops and cell phones, cameras and air conditioners, televisions and LED lamps — continues to be broken down, at huge health and environmental cost, by the informal sector.

Where are the orders?

In 2016, the E-Waste (Management) Rules placed responsibility on electronic goods manufacturing companies and bulk consumers to collect and channel e-waste from consumers to authorised re-processing units.

Laws to better manage e-waste have been around since 2011, mandating that only authorised dismantlers and recyclers collect electronic waste. But now, firms are required to set yearly collection targets linked to their production numbers.

The Rules also state that producers of electronic equipment must limit their use of hazardous heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium. By 2017, the government hoped, manufacturers, who account for the vast majority of e-waste, would get a hang of life under the new Rules and outline targets as well as measures to collect their e-waste.

And so, in theory, business should be great for Amit Bhaduri*, who runs an electronic goods recycling unit in Noida. He had invested nearly ₹4 crore to set up the re-processing plant and hired 30 trained workers three years ago, and should be flush with orders today.

But despite the new Rules, “There has hardly been any increase in orders. Electronic companies don’t seem to have taken the government very seriously,” he says. In fact, 200 companies that manufacture electronic goods — from smart phones to laptops — got served notices in October by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for not complying with e-waste procurement norms.

The list of companies, listed on the CPCB website, include some of India’s electronics majors in Bengaluru and Delhi. “Those who haven’t complied will be sent further notices in a month and if still not compliant, could be fined,” said an environment ministry official.

The network

The impact of e-waste on human health and environment is well documented. When electronic goods that are past their shelf life are broken down manually for precious metals or burnt or discarded in landfills, they contaminate land and water.

The vast majority of electronic waste processing happens in the unorganised sector, which fills a glaring lacuna in the processing cycle, and collects waste from households and establishments.

On the outskirts of Uttar Pradesh, and amidst several of Delhi’s industrial belts, are rows of shanties that are at the heart of the e-waste recycling network.

Many of the workers are children who work with their bare hands, dealing with enormous quantities of toxic metals. The heavy metals present in e-waste are known to cause neurological and skin diseases, genetic defects and cancer in workers who handle them.

Now, the tax

Bhaduri admits he cannot beat the unorganised sector in terms of price. “They make it hard for firms like ours to profitably sustain,” he says. The GST imposed a huge 12% tax on electronic recyclers, which has been an added blow.

Official records bear out the recyclers’ predicament. The number of registered dismantlers and recyclers increased from 126 to 148 between 2005 and 2014, according to data presented to the Lok Sabha, and together have a capacity of 4,55,059 tonnes per annum. But firms like Bhaduri’s are only able to process about 25% of their capacity.

Environment ministry officials, however, say they are trying to increase awareness about the hazards of e-waste. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission the environment ministry in association with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has initiated a nationwide capacity building programme on the implementation of six waste management rules, including E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016. This awareness programme is being conducted in 68 major cities, said environment minister Harsh Vardhan.

The target group comprises officials of municipal bodies, hospitals, resident welfare associations, market committees, local industries, facility operators, bus depots, malls and railway stations.

The ministry is also implementing a scheme called the ‘Creation of Management Structure for Hazardous Substances’, which includes an awareness programme about the new Rules and its implementation.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has initiated a pilot project ‘Awareness Program on Environmental Hazards of Electronic Waste’ that aims to provide training, tools and films aimed at creating awareness and reducing the impact of e-waste on the environment and health.

But for Bhaduri, the government schemes offer little relief unless they are implemented and they translate into profitable business. “Unless there is better enforcement and reigning in of the unorganised sector, there can be no real change.”

Environment Ministry eases e-waste collection targets for electronics companies

In a move seen as benefiting new entrants, many of whom are Chinese companies, the ministry of environment and forests has eased targets for electronics makers, including handset companies, to collect e-waste equal to a share of their yearly sales.

As per the government rules notified late last March but effective October 2017, the life of a smartphone has been determined as five years, while that of a featurephone at seven years.

Accordingly, handset makers selling phones prior to five years or seven years have to collect e-waste equal to 10% of the sales done in the financial year five or seven years back, while those starting operations later will need to meet lower targets of 5%.

Earlier, the rules stated that older companies had to start with a target of 30% collection of the sales done in previous years, while new companies had to meet a target of collecting e-waste equal to 10% of the sales.

In effect, players such as Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Micromax will have to collect e-waste equal to 10% of smartphones sold in FY 2013-14, in the fiscal 2017-18, since they have been selling smartphones for more than five years in India.

But for Chinese players such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, who entered the market in the last three-four years, the target for the present fiscal will reduce to 5% of sales in 2016-17.

The new e-waste collection targets, also known as the Extended Promoter Responsibility Plan, will rise by 10% every year for older companies until it hits 70% by FY24, and will stay at that level from that year onward. But for newer companies, the target for FY 2018-20 stays at 5% of the sales done in FY 16-18, rising to 10% in FY 2020-2022 for sales done in the consecutive financial years. This target again rises to 15% in FY 2022-24 and 20% from FY 2024 onwards.

The handset makers didn’t respond to ET’s emailed queries. Chinese players have taken a 54% share of the smartphone market since their entry in 2013.

Intex Technologies, one of the companies which started selling smartphones from 2012, said that the issue was contentious and courier and logistics may add to cost pressures. It aims to get large collection volumes from smaller cities to offset these costs.

“The rules will be easier to comply for newer players as per the definition of life of the product set by the ministry, since they have to meet a lower target than established players,” said Radhika Kalia, managing director of the India arm of RLG, a German recycling and reverse logistics player which works with global handset makers in India.

“This may skew the competition a little bit, given that if all companies were to set up e-waste management chains on their own, the costs could rise significantly,” she added.

She added that if companies were to work with a third-party provider, the cost of compliance would be negligible, not more than 1-2% of the value of a phone, which can be easily absorbed.

Pranshu Singhal, founder of Karo Sambhav, a collaborative producer responsibility organization which works with brands like Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo, said the latest rules were much needed in the smartphone industry where companies keep coming and going due to hyper competition.

“Though the life of the smartphone is five years, we’ve seen industry trends where the companies have been in operation for two years and then have gone out of business. This regulation captures this aspect and takes away the risk of a company disappearing from the market and the product becoming orphan,” he said.

About Us

E2E is India’s fastest growing electronic waste recycling company and clean-tech pioneer, We actively promote eco-friendly reuse and recycling of electronics.
As India’s end-to-end e-Waste recycler and metal extraction company, we aim to turn today’s waste into sustainable resources for tomorrow.

Recycling Facility: No.550,Sompura, 2nd stage, Industrial Area, SY No. 102, Thyamagondlu Hobli, Nelmangala Taluk, Dabaspet, Bangalore: 562132
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