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It must be noted that e-waste falls outside the general waste category. So, when disposing of this waste, it must be brought to a designated e-waste collection centre or place, often a certified collection site, a particular recycling bin (black in colour), PRO or a major electronics retailer.

E-waste Collection and Segregation Plant - Overview

An Indian city alone generates nearly 200,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. The e-waste count is growing in parallel with the growing need for advanced EEE. Thanks to increasing disposable income and increasing hype to purchase new items, the sales of electronic devices are growing steadily. Replacing old products upon release of a new device frequently has shortened the life span of these devices. This, in turn, causes a rapid increase in the quantity of e-waste produced. Eventually, the need for proper e-waste collection and storage for efficient processing raises the alarm.

Surprisingly, there are 1800+ recycling plants in India. But, 95% of the e-waste in India is recycled in informal sectors. The United Nations University (UNU) published a report. It states that e-waste will increase by 38% between 2020 and 2030. It also highlighted that most e-waste worldwide is not yet collected. It must be recycled correctly also. Hence, proper e-waste collection and segregation plants must be set up.

Collecting e-waste through recycling bins is important. Gathering such waste from Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs) is vital. Getting e-waste from take-back programs is also included. Obtaining it from on-demand collection services or collection locations is the first step in the e-waste recycling process. Subsequently, e-waste segregation takes place. Once segregated, the waste is sent to specialised recyclers for precious metal extraction, gold recovery, or to fulfil EPR compliances of PIBO.

Notably, collection and storage processes are not hazardous. Hence, setting up an e-waste collection and segregation plant while following the E-waste Management Rules, 2016, and amendments made after that are relatively easy. Here are the complete details.

E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016

These rules shall apply to every collection centre. The centre must be involved in collecting, storing and processing e-waste or EEE. These are mentioned in Schedule I. It includes consumables and components. Parts and spares that make the product operational are also included. However, EWM Rules, 2016 will not apply to -

  • micro-enterprises as per the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006;
  • used lead acid batteries as per the Batteries (Management & Handling) Rules, 2001. These rules are made under the Environment Protection Act, and
  • radio-active wastes as per the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962) & rules made there under.

Definitions as per the EWM Rules, 2016

extended producer responsibility (EPR) is the responsibility of any producer of EEE as mentioned in Schedule-I for fulfilling recycling targets according to Schedule-III & IV, only via registered e-waste recyclers to guarantee its environmentally sound management;

collection centre stands for a centre set up, jointly or individually or by a designated agency/registered society/an association or a company to collect e-waste;

environmentally sound management of e-waste implies taking all measures. These are needed to ensure that e-waste is managed in a certain way. It must protect the environment and health against any adverse effects resulting from such e-waste;

the facility is any site wherein certain processes are performed. These are incidental to e-waste collection, storage and reception. E-waste segregation, refurbishing, disposal, and recycling are also included. Treatment of e-waste is also performed here;

e-waste means EEE, including solar photo-voltaic panels or modules or cells, in part or whole, discarded as waste and rejected from refurbishment, repair and manufacturing processes.

Responsibilities of collection centres

As per the rules, the E-waste collection centres must -

  • Make sure that the e-waste collected by them is stored safely till it is dispatched to the registered recycler(s) or dismantler(s), as the case may be;
  • get authorisation as per the process under rule 9 from the concerned SPCB or PCC, as the case may be. They must then provide information like telephone/helpline number, address, e-mail, etc. of such collection centre to the general public;
  • make sure that no harm is because of the environment while transporting and storing e-waste;
  • file annual returns in Form 3 to the PCC/SPCB concerned on or before the 30th June 30th June after the financial year to which that return relates;
  • must abide by SOPS and guidelines declared by CPCB for e-waste collection, transportation, storage, segregation, dismantling, refurbishment, recycling and disposal under EWM Rules from time to time, and also submit necessary Returns/Forms for implementation; and
  • Retain records of the e-waste handled in Form 2 and produce such documents for verification by the PCC or SPCB concerned.

Roles of the manufacturer

All manufacturers must collect e-waste generated during EEE manufacturing. They must also ensure its proper disposal or recycling.

Responsibilities of the producer

The EEE producer must be responsible for -

  • collection of e-waste produced from the 'end of life of their products according to EPR principle and ensure that such e-waste is channelised to the registered recycler or dismantler;
  • collection of e-waste generated during the EEE manufacture and channelising it for recycling or disposal;
  • the producer must, as mandatory, ensure collection and channelisation by authorising collection agencies;
  • establishing take back systems take-back systems or collection centres either collectively or individually;
  • providing contact information like telephone numbers/helpline numbers and address of authorised collection centres to bulk consumer(s) or consumer(s) to facilitate the return of used EEE;

E-waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018, set the following target. It is for the E-waste collection -

EPR targets producers who have begun sales operations, i.e., the average life of their products is occasionally more than the number of years of sales operations stated in the norms issued by CPCB.

S No. Year E-waste Collection Target (Weight)
(i) 2018-2019 5% of the sales figure for the financial year 2016-17.
(ii) 2019-2020 5% of the sales figure for the financial year 2016-17.
(iii) 2020-2021 10% of the sales figure for the financial year 2016-17.
(iv) 2021-2022 10% of the sales figure for the financial year 2016-17.
(v) 2022-2023 15% of the sales figure for the financial year 2016-17.
(vi) 2023-2024 15% of the sales figure for the financial year 2016-17.
(vii) 2024-2025 20% of the sales figure for the financial year 2016-17.
(viii) 2025 onwards 20% of the sales figure for the financial year 2016-17.

Responsibilities of consumer or bulk consumer

Bulk consumers or consumers of EEE must make sure that e-waste generated by them is channelised to authorised registered dismantler(s)/collection centre (s)/recycler(s) or is returned to the take-back or pick-up services offered by the producers.

Responsibilities of the refurbishers

All refurbishers must collect e-waste produced during refurbishing.

Roles of dismantler

Every dismantler must ensure that dismantled e-waste is segregated. It must then be dispatched to the registered recycling facilities for material recovery.

Procedure for storage of e-waste

  • Every producer, manufacturer, refurbisher and recycler can store the e-waste for up to one hundred and eighty days.
  • Furthermore, s/he must retain a record of the transfer, sale and storage of e-waste and produce these records at the time of inspection.
  • Also, the e-waste storage will be done according to the applicable guidelines or rules for the time being in force: provided that the CPCB can extend the said period up to one year in case the e-waste needs to be particularly stored for the development of a process for its reuse or recycling.

Need of the license

  • Obtaining an e-waste license is vital to collect e-waste from corporates, manufacturing plants, companies and IT firms for further processing.
  • E-waste 2016 registration allows to participate in MSTC auctions to collect e-waste from PSUs like BHEL, Indian Railways and government tenders for recycling.

Procedure for grant of authorisation

1. Every e-waste collection and segregation centre must get authorisation from the PCC or SPCB concerned, as the case may be;

2. Every collection centre of e-waste must apply within three months starting from the date of the beginning of these norms in Form 1 to the PCC/SPCB for granting authorisation:

  • Given that any person authorised as per the Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) (HOWM) Rules, 2008, before the date of coming into force of these rules, must not apply for authorisation before it expires
  • Further, an e-waste recycler who has yet to be authorised under the norms of the HOWM Rules, 2008, must need authorisation following the above process.

3. The following documents must accompany the application

  • Consent to Operate
  • Consent to Establish
  • Hazardous Waste Authorisation
  • Details of types & quantity of e-waste handled or generated
  • Passbook
  • Details of types & quantity of e-waste sent to collection centres authorised by dismantler/producer/recycler/refurbisher or authorised recycler/refurbisher or dismantler
  • Details of types & quantity of e-waste transported
  • Details of types & quantity of e-waste stored

4. Upon getting a complete application, the PCC/SPCB may, after an enquiry and on being satisfied that the applicant has appropriate facilities, equipment and technical capabilities to handle e-waste securely, issue an authorisation in Form-1(a) within ninety days to the applicant to operate the facility safely. It may be noted that the authorisation is valid for five years.

5. Also, The SPCB/PCC, after giving enough chances of being heard the applicant, can deny granting any authorisation.

6. Every person authorised under these rules must retain the record of e-waste handled in Form-2 and submit an annual return having the details mentioned in Form 3 to the SPCB/PCC on or before the 30th of June every year.

7. An application for authorisation renewal must be made in Form-1 before two months of its expiry. The PCC or SPCB may renew the authorisation after examining each case and subject to the condition that there is no violation of the norms of the Act.

8. Every e-waste collection centre must take the necessary steps to comply with the terms mentioned in the authorisation.

9. The PCC or SPCB must maintain a register having details of the directions imposed under these rules for environmentally sound management of e-waste. Furthermore, it must be open for inspection during office hours to any person affected or interested authorised by him on his behalf.

10. As per E-waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018, Targets for Extended Producer Responsibility - Authorisation are as follows -

S No. Year E-waste Collection Target (Weight)
(i) 2017-2018 10% of the amount of waste generation as indicated in the Extended Producer Responsibility Plan.
(ii) 2018 to 2019 20% of the amount of waste generation as indicated in the Extended Producer Responsibility Plan.
(iii) 2019 to 2020 30% of the amount of waste generation as indicated in the Extended Producer Responsibility Plan.
(iv) 2020 to 2021 40% of the amount of waste generation as indicated in the Extended Producer Responsibility Plan.
(v) 2021 to 2022 50% of the amount of waste generation as indicated in the Extended Producer Responsibility Plan.
(vi) 2022 to 2023 60% of the amount of waste generation as indicated in the Extended Producer Responsibility Plan.
(vii) After 2023 70% of the amount of waste generation as indicated in the Extended Producer Responsibility Plan.

Power to suspend or cancel an authorisation

Suppose PCC or SPCB believes that the authorisation holder has failed to comply with any of the norms, Act, or these rules. The board can cancel or suspend the authorisation. This must be done after giving a reasonable opportunity. The applicant must be heard, and reasons must be recorded thereof.

Upon cancellation or suspension of the authorisation, the PCC or SPCB may allow the persons whose authorisation has been cancelled or suspended for safe e-waste storage. Thus, such a person must comply with such norms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is shredding and sorting?

    E-waste sorting and shredding takes place after its collection and transportation. The success of subsequent phases depends on shredding. It involves breaking e-waste into smaller pieces for proper sorting. The tiny pieces are sorted by hand and then dismantled manually. Eventually, the materials get sorted into core components and materials. Then, these items get sorted into various categories, including items that can be reused.

  • Why is e-waste segregation necessary?

    Electronic products comprise valuable materials. The list includes precious metals. It includes silver, gold and platinum. Aluminium, copper, glass and plastic are also a part. Thus, it's vital to keep e-waste out of landfills.

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