Electronic take-back and recycling program is so designed as to extract and subsequently reuse the substances present in the electronic equipment collected. Over 99 percent of the e-waste shared by consumers is processed for recycling.
Generally, take-back programs are initiated by a retailer or a manufacturer of electrical and electronics goods. The aim of the program is to gather old materials and products that are no longer used by the consumers and eventually reintroduce the products to the original plant of manufacturing for processing and recycling.
Best Practices in Electronics Take-Back Programs
India can take a leaf from the book on the e-waste take-back program of the US. There are many states that are performing well in terms of electronics take-back initiatives. Some of them have shared best practices and measures they take to make the take-back program a success. These states have recorded the highest collection volume of e-waste from the consumers. The states also have mandatory guidelines wherein the companies into electronic and electrical manufacturing goods have to conduct take-back programs. The e-waste collection ratio of these states is about 4 to 6.3 pounds per capita as compared to 1 pound per capita in other states that do not follow take-back programs or best practices like the following:
· No set bar for consumer electronics waste: The key to receiving a high amount of e-waste is to accept all kinds of electronic products covering a wider range. This enhances the collection efficiency, allocates economic responsibility more moderately, confine more e-waste materials, and make the whole process for the public simpler.
· Collection targets: Collection targets mean a fixed level playing in the field for the manufacturers and result in a high collection volume.
· Giving collection incentives: Giving incentives for the amount of collection also ensures a large number of participants in the program.
· Formalize informal sector: The authorities can provide aid/support in formalizing the informal sector. The restrictions imposed on informal ways to dispose of e-waste itself will create awareness among consumers. Once the awareness is there, people will try to dispose of their e-waste in a formal manner that is by handing them over to the authorized recycler or dropping them at the collection center. For this, the right infrastructure must be in place.
· Collection drive organized for residents: This will ensure no amount of electronics waste ends up in the regular bins or landfills. End consumers make up a large part of the electronic buying customers but constitute only 26 % of the recycled e-waste by volume. Typical homes hoard a larger number of e-waste than commercial units. The pile of e-waste could be five times more than e-waste hoarded at business establishments.
· Certification: There should be a certification by a third party for electronics recyclers. It is vital to lay stress on and implement best practices in order to collect more e-waste. Both collectors, as well as recyclers, must be encouraged to follow best practices to ensure proper management of e-waste in a state by e-waste management companies in India.
Producers’ and manufacturers’ responsibility towards collection The extended producer responsibility (EPR) guidelines enable producers and manufacturers to take up a broad range of steps to achieve the e-waste targets in terms of collection. Setting up authorized collection points and centers is a must. Apart from this, they can take measures such as deposit refund plan, buyback, setting up of electronic waste take-back counters, and working in tandem with online sellers.
Producers must obtain EPR authorization from the governing body. Failing to do the same must restrict them from importing. Producers and manufacturers must file an EPR plan to the concerned authority to ensure the maximum amount of e-waste collection for electronic recycling from the end-users.