Learning & Unlearning Knowledge About The Hazards Associated With Electronic Waste

Shashi Shekhar is the founder of Foxx Compliance Services, a compliance consultancy service provider for EEE and other product producers in India, and Co-Founder of Rightway Solutions, an authorized PRO for E-waste management and Channelization in India who has achieved significant success in the past five years. With a graduate degree and experience in trading, manufacturing and liaison services. he has led the company to revenue growth from zero to several crores annually, despite the pandemic's impact in 2020-2021.

1.According to you, What are the difficulties associated with managing e-waste in developing nations?
One of the most significant difficulties associated with managing e-waste in developing nations, such as India, is the lack of awareness about the harmful consequences of improper disposal. Many people don't have the necessary knowledge about the hazards associated with disposing of electronic waste in an unscientific manner. As a result, they continue to dispose of their e-waste in old ways, such as giving it to “Local kabadi” or throwing it in the garbage. To address this issue, it is crucial to spread awareness among people about the dangerous impact of e-waste disposal on the environment and human health.

"India's adoption of EPR laws through the E-Waste (Management) Rules 2016 is a positive step towards sustainable e-waste management"

Another significant challenge in managing e-waste in developing nations is the unbalanced ratio between e-waste production, use of electronic devices, and waste management agencies. With more than 90 percent of people in India depending on electronic products, a vast amount of e-waste needs to be managed. However, the number of waste management agencies is limited, and many people want good money for their e-waste, making it challenging to manage.

There are several major issues that need attention when it comes to managing e-waste in India. Firstly, there is a problem with estimating e-waste data, and finding information on e-waste imports is difficult. Secondly, waste collection, transportation, processing, and recycling are dominated by the informal sector, which is well-networked and unregulated, leading to serious issues regarding the leakage of toxins into the environment and hampering workers' health. Thirdly, there is a need for establishing collection points or centres for e-waste from the end-user to the recycler. Currently, environmental norms, health, and safety norms are compromised, as the collectors (local kabadi)do not follow the standards.The formal sector has a large infrastructure and high operational costs, making it challenging to compete with the informal sector. The informal sector needs specific attention to be channelized properly for environment-friendly management of e-waste.

Waste collection, transportation, processing & recycling are dominated by the informal sector, which is well-networked & unregulated, leading to serious issues regarding the leakage of toxins into the environment & hampering workers' health

2.Describe the importance of using as little hazardous material as possible while producing electronic waste equipment.
Reducing the use of hazardous materials in the production of electronic equipment is crucial for minimizing the amount of hazardous waste generated during the disposal of e-waste. While these materials are necessary for the functioning of electronic products, it is important to find replacements for these hazardous materials to decrease the hazardous waste generated from e-waste disposal. Additionally, it is crucial to increase awareness about the dangers of e-waste, as there is a lack of understanding about the hazardous nature of e-waste among many stakeholders in developing nations.

Policies that provide guidelines for producers, consumers, dismantlers, and recyclers are necessary to ensure that hazardous waste is handled properly. International practices such as the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) in electronic products can be beneficial in reducing the amount of RoHS in products, thereby minimizing the amount of hazardous waste generated. The RoHS Directive, for example, restricts the use of substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). By reducing the use of these hazardous materials, we can minimize the risks to both human health and the environment.

3. What are the difficulties in implementing the new e-waste management regulations
The implementation of the new e-waste management regulations is likely to face several challenges. The first and foremost challenge is to create proper strategies for its successful implementation. The amended E-waste management rules, 2022, have expanded the categories of EEE from two to seven, including their components, consumable parts, and spares. This means that the government needs to work on a comprehensive plan to deal with the increased volume of e-waste generated.

Another major challenge is the recycling of e-waste in India. The workers involved in the recycling process have low literacy and a lack of awareness of the potential hazards arising from e-waste. This makes it difficult to handle and dispose of e-waste safely and effectively.

India is also a dumping ground for e-waste from developed countries. Developed countries sell their e-waste in Indian markets, which exacerbates the problem of improper e-waste management in India. This not only adds to the volume of e-waste but also puts the health of the workers involved in recycling at risk.

Furthermore, there is a lack of sufficient collection points or centers available for the storage and transportation of e-waste in an environmentally sound manner. This makes it difficult to collect and transport e-waste to recycling facilities, resulting in a lack of proper disposal.

In summary, implementing the new e-waste management regulations in India is likely to face several challenges, including creating a comprehensive plan for dealing with the increased volume of e-waste, educating and training workers involved in recycling, preventing the dumping of e-waste from developed countries, and creating sufficient collection points for the storage and transportation of e-waste.

4.What challenges do business professionals have to deal with regarding BIS Registration (ISI) for goods made abroad starting in 2020?
Business professionals face a number of challenges regarding BIS registration for goods made abroad starting in 2020. One major challenge is ensuring conformity of the product to the applicable Indian Standards Specification. This can be difficult if the manufacturer is not familiar with the Indian standards or if the product needs to be modified to meet these standards.

Another challenge is the availability of manufacturing machinery and inhouse testing facilities at the manufacturing premises. It is important for the manufacturer to ensure that they have the necessary equipment and facilities to test the product as per applicable Indian standard.

Additionally, the manufacturer must accept the Scheme of Inspection, Audit & Testing, and the annual marking fee, which can be a complicated process. Separate applications must be submitted for each product and each factory location.

Another challenge is finding a NABL authorized lab to perform satisfactory safety testing of the product as per notified Indian Standards. This can be time consuming and expensive.

Fortunately, there are companies like Foxx Compliance Services (P) Ltd. that specialize in helping Indian and international manufacturers obtain their BIS registration. They can help manufacturers complete all of the requirements for BIS registration, making the process easier and more efficient. By connecting with them on, manufacturers can get the assistance they need to successfully register their products and sell them in the Indian market.

5.What do you think is the most important advance in e-waste management in the last 10 years and how do you think the role of e waste might change in the future?
One of the most important advances in e-waste management in the last 10 years is the adoption of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) laws, which hold manufacturers responsible for the environmental impact of their products throughout their entire life cycle. This means that manufacturers are incentivized to design products that are easier to recycle, and to establish recycling programs to recover materials from end-of-life products. India's adoption of EPR laws through the E-Waste(Management) Rules 2016 is a positive step towards sustainable e-waste management.

In the future, the role of e-waste is likely to continue to increase, as the demand for electronics and digital technology continues to grow. However, with increased awareness and regulation, we can expect to see more efficient and sustainable e-waste management practices. The development of new technologies for recycling e-waste, such as chemical recycling and pyrolysis, could also play an important role in reducing the environmental impact of e-waste. Ultimately, it will be important for all stakeholders to work together to create a more circular economy, where materials are reused and recycled, and waste is minimized.