Prices of consumer electronics may rise by 30 percent across the nations if the government does not roll back the tougher norms on e-waste recycling that it has proposed, consumer electronics companies have warned.
The government is currently proposing to amend the existing E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016 and has invited industry suggestions on a draft created by the Environment Ministry. In response to that, the largest industry group representing the sector – the Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturing Association (CEAMA) – has argued that higher costs of complying with tougher norms will inevitably push up final prices.
It has also asked the government to amend the rules which have proposed that companies collect and recycle a higher share of the e-waste generated by them. “In the current model, companies have to collect and recycle a predetermined percentage of annual product sales stretching back over the past 10 years, calculated from when the law kicks in. We have requested that the base value of calculation be brought down to sales of the previous year”, said CEAMA spokesperson Rohit Kumar Singh.
Current E-waste legislation is based on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which suggests that manufacturers have a moral and legal responsibility to dispose of and recycle e-waste generated by them from which they derive profit. Earlier, the government had broadly set the targets for recycling as fixed percentages of the quantity of waste generation by a company. This time, it has suggested that producers recycle 10 percent of the amount of waste they generated in 2017-18, following which the targets would increase by 10 percent annually till 2023 when it hits 70 percent. CEAMA wants this to be capped at 20 percent.
CEAMA has suggested that new companies be exempt from obligatory volume based targets for the first five years of their operating life after which the government model can be followed. “New producers may take some time to settle in and we want more in manufacturers to establish here with the Make in India initiative, so changes may be made to the draft,” a senior Environment Ministry official said.