As per the new E-Waste (Management) Rules 2016, it has become mandatory for bulk consumers, producers and manufacturers of all electrical and electronic equipment to bide by their EPR. These rules clearly indicate that a target is set for a bulk producer as per their market share to channelize their e-waste for responsible recycling.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) means responsibility of any producer of electrical or electronic equipment, for channelization of e-waste to ensure environmentally sound management of such waste. Extended Producer Responsibility may comprise of implementing take back system or setting up of collection centres or both and having agreed arrangements with authorised dismantler or recycler either individually or collectively through a Producer Responsibility Organisation recognised by producer or producers.
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What is the role of a PRO?
A Producer Responsibility Organisation is an organisation that helps producers meet their EPR targets through various recyclers and dismantlers in the country. PRO is responsible for setting up a collection mechanism for the targeted material and create awareness for recycling of e-waste.
To discharge obligation of take back and to meet expenses relating to logistic, recycling & disposal of hazardous substances the directive also provided for Advance Recycling Fee (ARF), which producers are eligible to collect from the customers at the time of sale. The ARF so collected remain earmarked to meet above obligations on the part of the producers / importers and after collection either on their own or taking help of third party logistic, the end of life equipment are sent to the certified recyclers for environment friendly disposal as per the norms set under the above directive.
The proposed draft Rules for e-waste management announced by the Ministry of Environment & Forests MoEF), India also suggests that the producers of electrical & electronic equipment are responsible to take back their products from the consumers at the end of the life of the product or whenever the consumer wishes to give back for disposal, practically on the same lines of EU. In the proposed Rules, there is a reference of Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS). This financial instrument is in use in some countries for various products including WEEE.
Once the proposed amendments in the present Rules will be in force, producers will be responsible to take their products back with certain targets and hand over the same to authorized / registered recyclers for final disposal. Looking at the Indian scenario, where every man made item fetch value even after the worst possible use, applicability of ARF / DRS has its limitations but if the same is enforced through the regulatory frame work, which is most likely, the producers will be eligible to collect DRS / ARF from the consumers.