The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the E-waste Management Rules, 2022 (‘Rules’) on November 2, 2022, which will come into force from April 01, 2023. These Rules will apply to every manufacturer, producer, refurbisher and recycler involved in manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, refurbishing, dismantling, recycling, and processing of e-waste or electrical and electronic equipment (‘EEE’) listed in Schedule I of the Rules. Under the above Rules, the manufacturer is responsible to collect e-waste and ensure its recycling or disposal and filling annual and quarterly returns on Central Pollution Control Board (‘CPCB’) portal. The producer on his part is responsible for implementation of extended producer responsibility (‘EPR’) target and ensure that at least 60% of their electronic waste is collected and recycled by 2023 with targets to increase them to 80% by 2025. The refurbuisher is required to ensure that the refurbished equipment is in accordance with the compulsory registration scheme of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and Bureau of Indian Standards. The recycler is responsible to: (i) ensure that the fractions or material not recycled in its facility is sent to registered recyclers; (ii) maintain record of e-waste collected, dismantled, recycled; (iii) file annual and quarterly returns; and (iv) follow standards or guidelines laid down by CPCB. The Rules also talk about reduction in the use of hazardous substances in the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment and their components.
The above Rules have put a cap of 180 (one hundred eighty) days for storage of e-waste by the manufacturer, producer, refurbisher and recycler which can be extended by CPCB up to 365 (three hundred and sixty-five) days. The Rules cast a duty on CPCB to lay down guidelines for imposition and collection of environment compensation on the producers in case of non-fulfilment of obligations under the Rules. The Rules have clearly set forth that the payment of environment compensation will not absolve the producers of the EPR obligation and the unfulfilled EPR obligation for a particular year will be carried forward to the next year and so on and up to 3 (three) years. The Rules have provided for prosecution and appeal, wherein, if any person provides incorrect information for obtaining EPR certificates or uses false/forged EPR certificates or fails to cooperate in the verification and audit proceedings will be prosecuted under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. A person aggrieved by an order of suspension or cancellation or refusal of registration or its renewal passed by CPCB, can appeal to Central Government within 30 (thirty) days from the date of the Order.