The Indian Ministry of Environment and Forest has begun implementing legislation designed to target the proper handling and disposal of electronic scrap. The legislation, which went into effect May 1, 2012, applies to manufacturers and consumers of electronics. Under the law, both parties will be required to maintain records of obsolete electronics in a particular format.
According to the company Nair & Co., which provides outsourced finance, compliance, human resources and legal information for companies seeking to grow their international operations, the rules are similar to those introduced in the United Kingdom with the adoption of the European Union Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive in 2003.
Under the new law, Indian companies that consume WEEE are required to pay for the recycling of obsolete electronics.
Indian companies also are required to ensure that obsolete electronics generated internally are to be directed to the authorized collection centers, registered dismantlers or recyclers or sent back through pickup or take-back services to be provided by manufacturers. Also, companies must maintain records of the obsolete electronics they generate and make the records accessible to concerned authorities.
According to Nair, the law exempts lead-acid batteries, micro- and small enterprises and radioactive waste. However, the information and telecommunications equipment and consumer electrical and electronics sectors must ensure their products are free from hazardous substances, such as lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium and certain other substances.
The law mandates that electronics manufacturers:
- Establish collection centers or introduce ‘take back’ systems;
- Raise awareness among consumers about the harmful components present in their products by providing equipment handling instructions;
- Maintain records in the prescribed format and make them available to the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) or Pollution Control Committees (PCC); and
- Submit an annual compliance report to the concerned authorities by a specified date.