The Central Government has notified the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 (the EWM Rules, 2016) which supersede the E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, (the EW Rules, 2011). The EWM Rules, 2016, have come into force from 1st October 2016.

The EWM Rules, 2016, apply to every manufacturer, producer, consumer, bulk consumer, collection centres, dealers, e-retailer, refurbisher, dismantler and recycler involved in manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, collection, storage and processing of e-waste or electrical and electronic equipment listed in Schedule I appended to the rules [See End Note 1]. It also includes the components, consumables, parts, and spares which make the product operational.

‘E-waste’ has been defined in the Rules, 2016 as electrical and electronic equipment, whole or in part discarded as waste by the consumer or bulk consumer as well as rejects from manufacturing, refurbishment and repair processes. ‘Electrical and electronic equipment’ in turn has been defined to mean equipment which are dependent on electric current or electro-magnetic field in order to become functional.

Thus the new Rules cover e-waste generated from the manufacture, use, repair and refurbishment of all kinds of electrical and electronic equipment, including ‘information technology and telecommunication equipment’ and ‘consumer electrical and electronics’, specifically listed in Schedule I of the Rules. The EWM Rules, 2016 have brought more clarity by introducing the definitions of consumable, components, channelization, dealer, deposit fund scheme, end-of-life, e-retailer, e-waste exchange, extended producer responsibility - authorization, extended producer responsibility plan, manufacturer, part, producer responsibility organization, refurbishment, refurbisher, spares, and targets.

One of the highlights of the EWM Rules, 2016, is the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The producers of electrical and electronic equipment have to implement the EPR to ensure that the e-waste is properly channelized to authorised recyclers or dismantlers and to achieve environmentally sound management of the e-waste. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has also published the implementation guidelines for EWM Rules, 2016, in order to ensure that the provisions of the rules are effectively implemented. A target based approach which is adopted from the recent international best practices for e-waste management has been recommended for the effective implementation of the EPR which involves phase wise collection of targeted quantities of e-waste by or on behalf of producers. The producers have to submit their EPR plan in Form 1 while applying to the CPCB for EPR authorization. The EPR plan should involve an estimated total quantity of the e-waste generated from the end-of-life products, general scheme for collecting back and channelization of e-waste to authorised recyclers or dismantlers, estimated budget, proposed awareness programmes, and the details for reduction in the use of hazardous substance (RoHS) compliance [See End Note 2].

The manufacturers, dealers, e-retailers, and refurbishers have been brought under the ambit of these rules to ensure that the e-waste is effectively channelized and disposed of. Fluorescent and other mercury containing lamps are also covered under the EWM Rules, 2016. The rules prescribe the responsibilities of the manufacturer which were previously not considered in the EWM Rules, 2011. The manufacturer has to undertake authorization from the concerned SPCB, collect the e-waste which is generated during the manufacturing process and channelize it for recycling or disposal, ensure that no damage is caused to the environment during storage and transportation of e-waste, maintain records of e-waste generated, and file annual returns to the concerned SPCB. The EWM Rules, 2016, have also prescribed the responsibilities of the dealer, refurbisher, and the State Government to ensure that the e-waste is effectively channelized and disposed of.

The criteria for implementation of RoHS in the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment and their components or consumables or parts or spares has been prescribed which would lead to effective implementation of the rules and minimize the generation of e-waste. The EWM Rules, 2016, mandates that the transportation of the e-waste shall be carried out as per the manifest system. Further, the manufacturer, producer, importer, transporter, refurbisher, dismantler, and recycler will be held liable and strict penalty would be imposed for all the damages which would be caused to the environment or any other third party due to improper handling and management of e-waste. The urban local bodies have been assigned the responsibility of collecting back the e-waste arising from the orphan products and channelizing it to authorized dismantler or recycler.

The EWM Rules, 2016, have prescribed strict criteria for achieving effective collection, transportation, storage, channelization, and disposal of the e-waste in an environmentally sound manner. The compliance requirements under the EWM Rules, 2016, have been made more stringent than the EW Rules, 2011. The manufacturer, producer, consumer, bulk consumer, collection centres, dealers, e-retailer, refurbisher, dismantler and recycler involved in manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, collection, storage and processing of e-waste or electrical and electronic equipment have to take adequate measures and develop a strong compliance management system in order to comply with the requirements prescribed under the rules.