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E-Safai, a Joint Initiative by RLG Systems and GIZ India, Seeks to Cultivate Mass Awareness Towards Safe and Sustainable E-waste Management

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Virtual workshop on Roles & Responsibilities of Bulk Consumers under EPR

New Delhi, September 8: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and RLG Systems India Private Limited have joined forces for the implementation of a three-year-long Public Private Partnership Project titled “Setting Up Innovative Value Chain for e-Waste Management” also known as “E-Safai” initiative. The project is being funded through the develoPPP programme that GIZ implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

The primary objective of this landmark programme is to cultivate awareness regarding the safe and sustainable handling of e-waste among various stakeholders, including Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), schools, retailers, and bulk consumers. E-Safai intends to emphasize the process of refurbishment, dismantling and recycling of e-waste in an environmentally sound manner. 

Electronic waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the country. The growth of the Information and Communication Technology sector has enhanced the usage of electronic equipment exponentially. Faster obsolescence and subsequent up-gradation of electronic products are forcing consumers to discard old products, which in turn accumulate huge e-waste in the solid waste stream.

Improper handling and disposal of e-waste have severe impacts on human health and the environment since they contain several hazardous constituents such as cadmium, lead, chromium, mercury and precious metals like gold, silver and palladium. In developing countries like India, e-waste is majorly handled by the informal sector. A study by GTZ- MAIT (Manufacturers Association of Information Technology) revealed that out of the total generation of e-waste, only 5% falls in the hand of the formal sector, and the rest 95% falls in the hands of the informal sector. 

India has emerged as 3rd largest e-waste producer in the world. Consumers – Bulk or Individuals are key stakeholders in e-waste: it is they who decide whether and when an item is an e-waste, and they form the link between producers and recyclers. Yet not much attention has been paid to their role.

As per the E-waste rules 2016 and its amendments thereof, the bulk consumer is defined as bulk users of electrical and electronic equipment such as Central Government or State Government Departments, public sector undertakings, banks, educational institutions, multinational organizations, international agencies, partnership and public or private companies that are registered under the Factories Act, 1948 (63 of 1948) and the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) and health care facilities which have a turnover of more than one crore or have more than twenty employees.

In the above context, a Virtual Workshop was organized to highlight the roles and responsibilities on 6th September 2022. Acknowledging the growing challenge of e-waste management in developing countries, the workshop is aimed to understand e-waste material flows, management strategies and determinants relating to bulk consumers in India.

Talking about the workshop, Ms. Radhika Kalia, Managing Director, RLG Systems India, stated: The generation of e-waste in India has increased exponentially, and there is a need to create awareness of sound management of e-waste among all the stakeholders in the e-waste value chain. All the corporate companies/Bulk Consumers should evolve a suitable e-waste policy so as to tackle the issues of the high obsolete rate of e-waste in their firms. We at RLG work with all stakeholders to make them aware of their responsibilities, and this workshop is one such initiative.

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