Panel Paper: Extended Producer Responsibility As an Instrument for Electronic Waste Management: A Critical Analysis of India's e-Waste Rules

Saturday, November 8, 2014 : 3:30 PM
Enchantment Ballroom C (Hyatt)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kalyan Bhaskar and Rama Mohana Turaga, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) has been a widely used policy approach, in developed and developing countries alike, to manage the growing problem of electronic waste (e-waste). EPR assigns the responsibility of the end-of-life waste management to the producers of electric and electronic equipment. India has adopted EPR approach in its e-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, which have come into effect in May, 2012. According to these rules, the producers have been made responsible for setting up collection centres of e-waste and financing and organizing a system for environmentally sound management of e-waste. In this paper, we use implementation of these rules in the city of Ahmedabad in western India as a case study to conduct a critical analysis of the provisions of India’s new rules. Interviews of main stakeholder groups, including a sample of commercial establishments regulated under the rules, regulatory agencies enforcing the rules, the city administration, formal and informal actors involved in waste collection and handling, as well as publicly available information on the implementation constitute data for our case study. Initial results suggest that the rules have slowly started to affect the manner in which e-waste is managed and handled in the city; a significant amount of progress still needs to be made for the implementation of the e-waste rules in Ahmedabad. In general, commercial establishments which have a pan-India presence are more likely to have taken steps to comply with the rules compared to establishments with presence centred in Ahmedabad. Some of the reasons for the lack of implementation of rules include a large informal market in the collection and recycling of e-waste, overburdened regulatory agencies, ambiguity regarding the provisions in the rules, and lack of awareness about e-waste and the rules among the intermediaries in the supply chain. Drawing upon theoretical and empirical literature on the implementation of EPR in other countries, including Europe, China, and other developing economies, we suggest modifications to the current rules for a more effective implementation.