Background:

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change vide number G.S.R. 472(E), dated June 10, 2015, published the draft e-waste (Management) Rules, 2015 in the Gazette of India and after duly considering the objections and suggestions received from the public in respect of the said draft rules, the Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred by Sections 6, 8 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986), and in supersession of the e-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, published the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 (hereinafter referred to as ‘Rules’) which came into force on October 1, 2016. The Rules have been notified with aim to ensure proper handling, disposal and environmentally sound management of e-waste.

Who is a Consumer?

As per the Rules, a 'consumer'[1] is defined as any person using electrical and electronic equipment, excluding the bulk consumers;

Who is a Bulk Consumer?

The Rules further define a ‘bulk consumer'[2] as the bulk users of electrical and electronic equipment such as:

  1. Central Government;
  2. State Government Departments;
  3. Public Sector Undertakings;
  4. Banks;
  5. Educational institutions;
  6. Multinational organisations;
  7. International agencies;
  8. 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 (INR) 1 crore or have more than 20 employees;

 

Responsibilities of Consumers and Bulk Consumers:

The Rules lay down[3] that the consumers or bulk consumers of electrical and electronic equipment listed in Schedule I of the Rules shall ensure the following:

  1. That the e-waste generated is channelised through collection centre or dealer of authorised producer or dismantler or recycler or through the designated take back service provider of the producer to authorised dismantler or recycler;
  2. That end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment are not admixed with e-waste containing radioactive materials as covered under the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962) and rules made there under.

Apart from the above, the Rules lay down the following additional responsibilities specifically for the bulk consumers:

  1. To maintain records of e-waste generated in Form-2 and make such records available for scrutiny by the concerned State Pollution Control Board;
  2. To 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.

Multiple offices in a State:

The Rules have also specified that 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.[4]

Storage of e-waste:

Bulk consumers 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 available for inspection.[5]

However, the Rules also provide that such period of storage of e-waste may be extended by the concerned State Pollution Control Board for a period up to 365 days in case the waste needs to be specifically stored for development of a process for its recycling or reuse.[6]