A lot has been talked about the problems associated with the end of life electrical & electronic equipment or (e-waste). Now, the time has come to aggressively implement effective and environment friendly solution to address this ever growing problem. As we all know, that e-waste has unique combination of hazardous substances and reusable commodities and therefore it is important from environmental & ecological points of view that both these elements are recovered in a safe & secured manner.
Looking at the unique features of e-waste, it is important to realize that proper treatment of this waste is not restricted to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) alone but much beyond that covers Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) responsibilities together.
ESG may not necessarily be a part of the legal framework but is certainly a part of responsibility of one & all in the best interest of our environment. In all probability, I feel that going forward ESG compliance will prove to be profitable rather than cost because better environment will certainly add to greater productivity.
At this point, it is important to look at a significant provision in the proposed draft rules for e-waste management which talks about Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR). This particular provision may help in achieving greater transparency on the movement of end of life electronic & electrical equipment and lead to incremental quantum going for organised recycling. This provision may go a long way provided used equipment do not reach to unorganised players for a consideration but are returned to the producers on expiry. EPR might lead to Advance Recycling Fees (ARF) and if such mechanism appears to discharge the responsibility of reverse logistic & recycling, such funds, so collected from the consumers may be used for setting up logistic & recycling infrastructure across the nation. This model may help in achieving greater ESG.
It may also not be out of place to discuss whether environment is a local issue or a global issue? It has been noticed that lots of e-waste moves from one to other countries primarily because of high costs of recovery at certain places and lack of technology at the other. But the countries like India are capable to take care of both if the viable business model appears out of the same, in such case investment in the venture does not become a question mark. In such circumstance, it may be pertinent to have open discussion on such possibilities where cross country movement is made possible for recycling purposes only and to provide recovered commodities back to the main stream of the industries and avoid deeper mining.
Eco Recycling Ltd, the first e-waste recycling facility granted registration by the Central Pollution Control Board and the first facility received consent to operate from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board is presently serving to more than 300 corporate entities across nation and providing end to end solution right from collection till the disposal of hazardous substances. It is proud to share that Ecoreco is about to launch its Precious Metal Recovery facility, the first indigenously developed technology for recovery of precious metals. With the implementation of the same and on 100% capacity utilisation, Ecoreco will be able to process 1200 tons of printed circuit boards per annum on one shift basis. This will be another feather in the cap of Ecoreco which will be in the same league of developed facilities anywhere globally. This will also be beneficial from the national exchequers point of view when India will be able to retain its precious metals in the country itself.