EPR License has become a mandatory requirement in the face of growing IT and telecommunication sectors. That growth has arrived with an exponential increase in consumption of electronic equipment. Such equipment’s have a trait of becoming obsolete after a few months due to introduction of newer versions. Thus, the increased consumptions is going hand in hand with increased amount of electronic waste.

Thus, to emphasis on recycling and protecting the environment, the government introduced E waste registration certificate.

Through this article, we are going to highlight the E waste management challenges in India, and how has the EPR license revealed them to the world.

What is Electronic Waste?

Electronic Waste is not something that you would categorize as any other waste products. An electronic product devolves into an electronic waste when it has ceased to become useful. There can be several reasons for that:

  1. The product’s existence has crossed the expiry date.
  2. The product is damaged in a way that no one can repair it.

Funny thing about electronic waste is, the “expiry” data written on them is just a marketing ploy. Yes, there are cases when the products stop operating optimally after a while but, the expiry date has been specifically designed to stimulate the market of a newer version of that product.

In any event, such products get quickly replaced by either their newer or latest iterations. In such event, the products getting replaced become E wastes. Even India, a country whose citizens know the value of money, and thus have the lease discretionary spending, are now being motivated to buy new products as quickly as possible.

It’s an admirable attribute, as people’s spending power has increased. But, the EPR license norms in India have arrived too late, in 2012. As a result, we face several challenges when it comes to E waste management.

But it’s not only a problem with India, it’s a global issue.

Current global picture of E waste management

Basel Convention is an international treaty that exists to reuse and regulate the movement of hazardous wastes between countries. Despite that, illegal import, export, and dumping of electronic waste is rampant across nations.

The mandatory EPR license for importin India, an indirect result of that treaty, dictates that import of electronic waste can only take place within the restrictions of the pollution laws. However, that warning has fallen on deaf years as even in 2021 – 9 years since the introduction of the EPR License act, electronic landfills are on the rise.

Going back to the global picture, 66 per cent of global nations have EPR license norms in one way or another. But still, only 20 percent of these nations abide by these rules. When looked at statistically, that equates to over 40 million tonnes of electronic waste is either illegally burnt, or dumped.  Now let’s take a look at the major countries who are the biggest culprits in this case.

  1. United States of America: America, the world’s super power, has consumers that throw away 100 million electronic devices every year.
  2. China: China is the manufacturing hub of the world. This dragon is responsible for discarding 160 million electronic devices each passing year.

India, being a country which got included among the nations pretty late, isn’t doing any better.

Electronic waste problem in India

Right not, India stands at rank 177 in the ranked list of countries being assessed for their Environmental Performance Index. Our country received the said rank back in 2018, and it’s not getting any better.

After USA, China, Japan and Germany, it’s India that produces the largest amount of E waste. Since the rankings came out – 2018 – India has generated more than 2 million tonnes of electronic waste on an annual basis. That amount of electronic waste brings dumped in open dumpsites has led to issues such as:

  1. High ranking pollution statistics: Electronic equipments often (all the time) constitute of plastic. When burnt, the fumes coming from such equipments disastrously impacts the environment. It’s effects have become more prevalent now as the National Capital Territory stands among the top 5 of most polluted cities in the world.
  2. Ground water contamination: Courtesy of the laziness of the people and the waste workers, much of the electronic waste goes into rivers and other water bodies. It has led to contamination of ground water that further contributes to poor health.

However, the core India’s issues with e waste management is because of many challenges.

E waste management challenges in India

The challenges that India faces when it comes to E waste management aren’t that different from other countries. However, due to large population and increased number of crowded regions, these challenges have become more difficult to deal with.

  1. Lack of Awareness when it comes to Electronic Waste: Electronic waste management concerns don’t make the priority spot in the list of issues India is facing. Thus, the government, even with its apparent intentions to spread awareness, fails to provide the right information about e waste management. The materials that are present on the government websites (EPR license websites) are filled with legal terms that no one can understand.

In other words, it’s not for everyone’s reading. Additionally, electronic manufacturing companies don’t concern themselves with putting out material about electronic waste management. Their concern lies with profit generation.

  • Irregular network of E waste collection: From “kabadiwalas” that arrive to each household to buy waste products, to rag pickers that try to dig out sellable materials from waste filled landfills, India has no lack of unofficial waste collectors. However, their network is irregular and there is no one watching over them.

Because of the lack of awareness, these unofficial waste workers know the value of the work that they do. The only area in India known for buying E waste is Seelampur of Delhi. Hosting the largest E waste dismantling center in India,  it’s the place that’s considered Mecca for the rag pickers and other unofficial waste workers. However, the operations at that centre is extremely irregular.

  • Outdated recycling techniques: The current techniques that recyclers implement to recycle E waste consists of Acid Leaching and open incineration. When the acid is not harming the ground, the open incineration is destroying the atmosphere.

Such outdated techniques still exist because current recyclers don’t have access to modern machineries that use magnetic attributes of certain materials to recycle the products.

Other Useful License: IP1 License

Before the introduction of EPR license format, none of the above challenges would have come to light.

EPR License Online: A process revealing the Aforementioned Challenges

In 2012, when the government mandated that every E waste management company, every electronic product producer and every E waste importer has to acquire the EPR license, stakeholders of those three domains were surprise:

  • The E waste management companies were surprised about finally being regularized by the government.
  • The Electronic Product Companies were surprised by a requirement that would add additional expenses to their business.
  • The E waste importers weresurprised that what they do is now legal.

The EPR license process revealed that currently, conservation of the environment was the last thing on people’s mind. Each and every step that the applicants had to go through to acquire the license provided statistical information to the government about the following:

  • How much electronic waste is annually generated in India?
  • How many common folks are aware of the concept of E waste management?

And the answer was abysmal. However, even since the implementation of the registration norms. Things have started to look more hopeful.

  • Even though the landfills of electronic wastes are increases, the rate of that increase is constantly decreasing. It brings hope that one day, the landfills will start to decrease.
  • EPR License means holding accountability for the environment by taking on Extended Producer Responsibility. Even it’s by compulsion, the manufacturers, the importers and even the e waste management companies are now forced to care for the environment.
  • EPR license of import in India has opened new employment opportunities and desire of these importers to find a sustainable way to recycle the e wastes.

What’s the icing on the cake here is that getting the EPR license doesn’t only benefit the government. It also benefits the producer, importer and e waste manager by:

  1. Reducing the costs.
  2. Making latest recycling technologies accessible.
  3. Giving the ability to reuse the discarded components in some cases.

 So you see, EPR certificate did reveal the challenges of E waste management in India. But, it has also paved the way for a better future for India.

Do you want to become a part of that future? Reach out to Registrationwala to start the EPR License process today.


Creator of I AM UR TEACHER, Engineer by Degree. 4+ Experience in Digital Marketing, Travel & Gym Lover.

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