New Delhi (India), September 2: In light of ever-growing electronic waste (E-waste) in India, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and RLG Systems India Pvt. Ltd. came together to organize a workshop titled “Scenario of Deposit Refund Scheme for E-waste Management in India” under the “Setting Up Innovative Value Chain for E-waste Management (E-SAFAI)” initiative on August 31, 2023, at Claridges Hotel, New Delhi. The event was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The workshop was conducted to bring together experts, policymakers, and industry leaders to collectively address the pressing issue of E-waste and explore a sustainable path forward. It offered a comprehensive understanding of the DRS concept and its potential implications for India’s E-waste landscape.

The event was graced by the presence of prominent personalities, including Ms. Radhika Kalia, MD, RLG Systems India; Dr. Sandip Chatterjee G, Sr. Director & Scientist, MeitY, Govt. Of India; Dr. BMS Reddy, Sr. Environment Engineer, Delhi Pollution Control Committee; Dr. RK Sharma, Environment Engineer, DPCC; and Mr. Gautam Mehra, Director, Frametrics Consultancy Pvt. Ltd., and Mr. Jai Kumar Gaurav, Senior Advisor, GIZ India, among others. The dignitaries emphasized the importance of recognizing the threat posed by the rising volumes of e-waste, collective responsibility and action, and the necessity of uniting experts, policymakers, and industry leaders and pooling knowledge and insights towards effective E-waste management. It was acknowledged that discussing innovative strategies like the Deposit Refund Scheme was a positive step towards addressing pressing concerns and shaping a sustainable future.

The workshop aimed to shed light on the Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS) as a pivotal strategy within the larger framework of E-waste management. It is noteworthy that in the midst of rapid technological advancement and rising consumption of electronic products, the issue of E-waste has garnered increased attention across the globe. The Indian government’s introduction of the DRS as part of its E-waste Management Rules 2016 marked a significant step forward towards addressing this challenge. However, it was kept voluntary for producers and did not gain much attention.

The DRS involves a simple yet effective mechanism:

Deposit Payment: Consumers pay a small deposit fee when purchasing electronic devices, serving as an economic incentive for responsible disposal.

Collection Points: Designated collection points are established where consumers can return their used electronic products at the end of their lifecycle.

Product Return: Consumers receive a refund of the deposit fee upon returning the product to the collection points.

Recycling: The collected E-waste is then properly recycled, contributing to resource conservation and environmental protection.

Implementation of DRS for E-waste management offers substantial benefits. It ensures better tracking of end-of-life electronic equipment, promotes responsible recycling practices, conserves resources, generates employment opportunities, and combats illegal trade and improper disposal of E-waste. The scheme also enhances consumer awareness, supports corporate social responsibility efforts, reduces production costs, ensures data security, and safeguards the environment.

The workshop focused on the nuances of implementing a DRS in the Indian context. It emphasized discussions on stakeholder engagement, developing a seamless refund process, raising consumer awareness, and establishing robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. The event sought to bring together key stakeholders, including government representatives, manufacturers, recycling agencies, and consumers, to foster collaboration and devise a cleaner and greener future for India.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Radhika Kalia, MD, RLG Systems India Pvt Ltd, said, “The mounting challenge of E-waste in the country urgently calls for the exploration of innovative solutions. The Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS) for E-waste Management, discussed at this workshop, offers a solution that may effectively help in E-waste management and form a part of a larger set of solutions aimed at resolving the critical E-waste problem. By incentivizing responsible disposal practices and promoting sustainable approaches, the scheme offers safeguards for the environment and paves the way for a more responsible and prosperous future. The current rules emphasize recyclability and downstream maintenance for proper resource recovery. Upholding the principles set forth by the current rule, we recognize the paramount importance of cultivating a robust Deposit Return System (DRS) in India. I believe that through collaborative efforts with our partners and stakeholders, we are working towards creating a cleaner and greener India.”

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