Draft E-waste Management Rules: Basics Explained

The Environment Ministry released its Draft E-waste Management Rules which set fresh standards for businesses to adhere to when it comes to recycling electronic waste. India is estimated to generate about 2 million tonnes of e-waste each year, coming in fifth among e-waste-producing countries, according to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017. The United States, China, Japan and Germany are the biggest producers of e-waste. India first introduced e-waste management rules in 2016, which were then amended it in 2018.

  • Electronics manufacturers and any businesses that generate e-waste will have to ensure at least 60 percent of their electronic waste is collected and recycled by 2023. This will increase to 70 percent by 2024 and 80 percent by 2025.
  • Violators will have to pay a fine called “environment compensation” which would be refunded in part depending on how late the offenders meet their targets.
  • A wide range of consumer electronics, telecom equipment, medical equipment, and electronic tools have been specified in the rules.
  • Introduce a system of tradable certificates similar to the internationally-traded carbon credits. The new draft rules could bring in a similar system to the Indian e-waste landscape. Companies would be required to get Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates from recyclers and refurbishers.
  • Companies will have to register on an online portal where they will have to detail their annual production and e-waste collection targets. Recyclers, refurbishers, and bulk consumers also have specific rules listed out for them.

E-waste recycles in India is predominantly an informal sector activity.


  • Develop the formal infrastructure in the sector and impart some skill to workers so that some formalization takes place.
  • Harnessing the “efficiencies of the informal networks already in place”, especially in the early supply chain, and link them to formal e-waste recyclers who can process the waste in a much more scientific manner
  • Government laws should provide companies with tax benefits for recycling e-waste.
  • There should be broader public knowledge regarding market prices and health safety costs of e-waste recycling.
  • However, what can’t be stressed enough is consumer awareness, which can play a critical role. As author Robert Swan says – “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”


Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a term for electronic products that have become unwanted, non-working, or obsolete, and have essentially reached the end of their useful life. Obsolete electronic devices are rapidly filling the landfills.

                 Most electronics that are improperly thrown away contain some form of harmful materials such as beryllium, cadmium, mercury and lead. These materials might be trace elements, but when added up in volume, the threat to the environment is significant. Besides adding harmful elements to the environment, improper disposal of e-waste is a recycling opportunity lost.

Toxic chemicals in electronics products can leach into the land over time or are released into the atmosphere, impacting nearby communities and the environment     Incineration releases heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury into the air and ashes. Mercury released into the atmosphere can bioaccumulate in the food chain, particularly in fish – the major route of exposure for the general public. If the products contain PVC plastic, highly toxic dioxins and furans are also released. Brominated flame retardants generate brominated dioxins and furans when e-waste is burned


Leave a Comment


Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Lost Password