Recycle it all, no matter how small! – The Slogan for International E-Waste Day 2022

14th October 2022 is the 5th edition of International E-Waste Day. It was founded by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum in 2018 to raise awareness to tackle the new generational E-waste challenge. This occasion plays a crucial role in moving towards a better green Earth with manageable e-wastes.

The UN has estimated that this year alone, more than 22 million tonnes of E-waste from small electrical items will be produced worldwide. They are often discarded, landfilled or incinerated – meaning that raw materials cannot be extracted and are thereby lost. This year’s focus will be on small electronics such as toothbrushes, cameras or even toasters. These products can be used in the production of new devices if disposed of in the proper way. Based on this the slogan of 2022 “Recycle it all, no matter how small” is in line.

“I’m glad to witness that the E-waste management sector in India is making a progress towards creating an ecosystem to responsibly reuse and recycle E-waste. The government has actively introduced various positive initiatives like Battery Waste Management Rules, amendments to the existing E-waste rules and draft Refurbishing rules. This will ensure that awareness is created among OEMs, corporate organisations and consumers and they begin disposing their E-waste responsibly, thereby progressing towards a circular economy.”, says Ravi Neeladri, CEO, Cerebra Green, on the E-waste management sector in India currently.

This International E-waste Day, let’s look at the positive steps by which the Indian E-waste industry is moving towards a greener and sustainable economy:

Introduction of E-waste rules by the government

With a growing E-waste management concern, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) issued a set of rules known as E-waste Management and Handling Rules in 2011, tackling the safe management, storage and recycling of E-waste. In 2016, the MoEF and Climate Change rolled out revised rules stating that sellers of electronic goods must provide consumers with information on their disposal. In 2018, the amendment focused on E-waste collection targets on a year-by-year basis. According to a draft notification by the Environment Ministry in 2022, companies and makers of electronic goods must ensure that at least 60% of their E-waste is collected and recycled by 2023, with targets to increase them to 70% and 80% in 2024 and 2025 respectively. The new rules also emphasise on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates, recycling and trading. This will follow the government’s objective to promote a circular economy. 

The formal sector gaining momentum in the E-waste space

The E-waste management market is rapidly expanding and is expected to continue growing. Indian E-waste recycling companies are at the forefront of innovation, with an aim to see a sustainable and green future. E-waste collection, transportation and processing are mainly channelised to the non-formal sector in our country. A boom in technology has led to several startups coming forward to handle E-waste seamlessly, also providing livelihoods to millions of people belonging to marginalised groups. At the same time, several tech companies are entering into partnerships with E-waste management firms to meet environmentally safe objectives for their consumers. Cerebra Green, one of India’s largest E-waste recycling companies, is working towards creating a better tomorrow by educating consumers as well as corporate organizations about the reuse, recycling as well as refurbishing of E-waste. They work with Fortune 500 companies, encouraging them to recycle and refurbish their electronic devices, in order to meet their sustainability goals, while pushing towards a more formal E-waste management process. Government initiatives and increasing consumer awareness are also contributing to the market’s growth.  

New hub for battery waste recycling 

India is striving to increase EV adoption, which in turn increases the percentage of battery waste. Because of this, the government has introduced the 2022 Battery Waste Management Rules to ensure environmentally friendly management of waste batteries. By promoting circular economy through recycling, these rules also provide for a mechanism of ‘extended producer responsibility’ (EPR) – meaning that manufacturers will be held responsible for the management of used batteries. This in turn encourages new industries and entrepreneurship opportunities in the battery recycling and refurbishment space. Moreover, effective Li-ion battery reuse/recycle will reduce import dependency on raw materials. 

Growing consumer awareness

The E-waste management industry in India is undergoing a transformation for a green future. Responsible consumer behaviour of E-waste disposal is central to its management. There is now a shift in mentality in the minds of consumers when buying certain electronic gadgets, with people opting for environmentally safe products. People all over the country are beginning to help collect, dispose and recycle their E-waste products. However, there still exists a major need to pay special attention to sensitising the public to E-waste disposal practices and their ill effects. There should also be an increased prominence of sustainability and climate change at the forefront of government and public attention, to foresee a better future.  

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