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E-waste or electronic waste is created when an electronic product is discarded after the end of its useful life. Some examples are 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 as well as reusable and secondary scraps such as copper, steel, plastic, etc. The rapid expansion of technology means that a very large amount of e-waste is created every minute.

Legislations in India:

In India, prior to the enactment of the E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011; e-waste was covered under the Hazardous Waste Management Rules. The E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 were enacted on 12th May 2011 and became effective from 1st May 2012. These Rules were brought into force to enable recovery and/or reuse of useful material from e-waste, thereby reducing the hazardous wastes destined for disposal, to ensure the environmentally sound management of all types of e-waste and to address the safe and environmentally friendly handling, transporting, storing, and recycling of e-waste. For the first time, the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) was introduced which made manufacturers liable for safe disposal of electronic goods.

Thereafter, the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 were enacted vide GSR 338 (E) Dated 23rd March 2016 in supersession of the 2011 Rules and came into effect from 1st October 2016. A manufacturer, dealer, refurbisher and Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) were also brought under the ambit of these Rules. PRO is a professional organization authorized or financed collectively or individually by producers, which can take responsibility for collection and channelization of e-waste generated from their products to ensure environmentally sound management. An option was given for setting up of a PRO as an additional channel for implementation of EPR by Producers. Further, the collection mechanism based approach was adopted for the collection of e-waste by Producers under EPR. Furthermore, the applicability of the Rules was expanded to cover components, consumables, parts, and spares of EEE in addition to the equipment covered under the Rules.

Further, the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 was amended; vide notification GSR 261 (E) dated 22nd March 2018 to facilitate and effectively implement the environmentally sound management of e-waste in India. These amendments have been made with the objective of channelizing the e-waste generated in the country towards authorized dismantlers and recyclers in order to further formalize the e-waste recycling sector.

The amended Rules revise the collection targets under the provision of EPR with effect from 1st October 2017. By way of revised targets and monitoring under the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), effective and improved management of e-waste would be ensured. As per the revised targets of e-waste collection, 10% of the quantity of waste generated shall be collected during 2017-18. Further, there shall be a 10% increase every year until the year 2023. After 2023, the E-Waste collection target has been fixed at 70% of the quantity of waste generation.

Often, industry professionals find themselves baffled with the compliance requirements with regard to E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 and E-Waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018. This article is an attempt to clearly spell out the needs for compliance as required in the said Rules.

Responsibilities of Industries (Bulk Consumers)

Industries fall under the term Bulk Consumers. This term is defined under 3 (1) c of E-Waste Management Rules, 2016; as bulk users of electrical and electronic equipment, such as: Central Government or State Government Departments, PSU, Banks, Educational institutions, Multinational Organisations, International agencies, Partnership and Public or Private companies that are registered under the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948) and the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) and health care facilities which have turnover of more than 1Cr or have more than twenty employees.

Nevertheless, E-Waste Rules, 2016 not applicable to

1. Used lead acid batteries as covered under the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001 made under the Act

2. Micro enterprises as defined in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (27 of 2006)

3. Radio-active wastes as covered under the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962) and rules made thereunder

Responsibilities of the Bulk Consumers are clearly outlined in Rule 9 as follows:

a. To ensure that e-waste generated is channelized in the following manner:

  • through a collection center
  • or dealer of authorized producer
  • or dismantler
  • or recycler
  • or through the designated take back to the service provider of the producer to authorized dismantler or recycler

Ideally, the Bulk Consumers should enter into a written agreement with any of the above, and preferably with a party approved or registered or recognized by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).

b. Maintain records of e-waste generated in Form-2 a format specified in the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016. Such records may be scrutinized by the SPCB concerned.

c. Ensure that such end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment are not admixed with e-waste containing radioactive material as covered under the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962) and rules made thereunder

4) File annual returns in Form-3, to the concerned State Pollution Control Board on or before the 30th day of June following the financial year to which that return relates.

In case of the bulk consumer with multiple offices in a State, one annual return combining information from all the offices shall be filed to the concerned State Pollution Control Board on or before the 30th day of June following the financial year to which that return relates

Under the Rule 15, it is also important to note that every manufacturer, producer, bulk consumer, collection center, dealer, refurbisher, dismantler, and recycler may store the e-waste for a period not exceeding 180 days and shall maintain a record of collection, sale, transfer, and storage of wastes and make these records

SPCB may extend the said period up to 365 in case the waste needs to be specifically stored for development of a process for its recycling or reuse.

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