E-Waste & The Laws That Surround It
E-waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their “useful life.” Computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines are standard electronic products. Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled.
These dangerous wastes cause an enormous threat to human health and the already depleting environment. The danger to the environment is on the rise because the method of recycling E-waste in India is done by the unorganized sectors that don’t have the desired technology to handle and curb electronic waste. Even with the toxins removed, recycling will cause an impact on the environment because of the emission while extracting valuable materials.
For the first time, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change notified a set of rules called Electronic waste management and handling Rules in 2011 under section 6 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. These rules are meant to tackle the safety and environment-friendly management, transporting, storing, and recycling of e-waste and diminish the usage of dangerous substances during electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing.
There are various legislations/rules dealing with E-wastes in environmental laws, either directly or indirectly, to name a few are:
- Electronic waste (management) rules, 2011 and Electronic waste (management) Amendment rules, 2018
- Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
E-Waste Management FAQs
Is “e-waste” clearly defined?
The term “e-waste” is loosely applied to consumer and electronic business equipment near or end of its useful life. There is no clear definition for e-waste; for instance, whether or not items like microwave ovens and other similar “appliances” should be grouped into the category has not been established.
Is “e-waste” considered hazardous?
Specific components of some electronic products contain materials that render them hazardous, depending on their condition and density.
What should I do with my electronic discards?
The mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle“ applies here.
- Reduce your generation of e-waste through smart procurement and good maintenance.
- Reuse still functioning electronic equipment by donating or selling it to someone who can still use it.
- Recycle those products that cannot be repaired. Computer monitors, televisions, and other electronic equipment should NOT be disposed of with regular garbage.