India’s e-waste rules and their impact on e-waste management practices: a case study
Rama Mohana Rao, Turaga
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India, like many other developed and developing countries, has adopted an extended producer responsibility (EPR) approach for electronic waste (e-waste) management under its E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. Under these rules, producers have been made responsible for setting up collection centers of e-waste and financing and organizing a system for environmentally sound management of e-waste. In this ar ticle, we use the implementation of these rules in Ahmedabad in western India as a case study to conduct a critical analysis of the implementation of India’s Rules. Interviews of main stakeholder groups, including a sample of regulated commercial establishments, regulatory agencies enforcing the Rules, informal actors involved in waste collection and handling, as well as publicly available information on the implementation constitute data for our case study. Our results indicate that while there has been an increase in the formal waste processing capacity after the implementation of the Rules, only 5% to 15% of the total waste generated is likely channeled through formal processing facilities. While the EPR regulation forced the producers to take action on a few relatively inexpensive aspects of the Rules, the collection and recycling system has not been made convenient for the consumers to deposit e-waste in formal collection and recycling centers. Based on our findings, we argue that Indian EPR regulation should go beyond simple take-back mandates and consider implementing other policy instruments such as a deposit-refund system. An impor tant implication for developing countries is the need for careful attention to instrument choice and design within EPR regulations.
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