Extended Producer Responsibility In Developing Countries: Success Factors for Informal-Formal E-Waste Partnerships
Daniel Hinchliffe1, Priti Mahesh2, Jai Kumar Gaurav3, Gautam Mehra4
1Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Germany; 2Toxics Link, India; 3adelphi research GmbH, Germany; 4Strategos Advisory, India
In developing countries e-waste is often treated using uncontrolled recycling processes in the informal sector, which causes major environmental and health effects. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation is seen as a key policy instrument for tackling e-waste, making producers responsible for collecting e-waste and ensuring that it is recycled safely. However, despite EPR legislation formal recyclers struggle to obtain enough e-waste to achieve operational viability, as in many countries waste generators expect payment for their e-waste. Informal collectors are highly effective in door-to-door collection and offer waste generators a higher price than formal operators, as uncontrolled recycling externalizes environmental, health and social costs. To channel e-waste to formal recycling, it is important that the informal sector is incentivized to provide e-waste for formal recycling or is supported to engage in safe dismantling operations. So-called hybrid collection models aim to set up partnerships between informal collectors and formal recyclers to channel e-waste to appropriate facilities. A number of small initiatives have trialed such partnerships in India in the last years, with varying levels of success. In 2016 India passed new E-waste Rules which aim to more effectively deal with e-waste. As these rules come into force and producers look for better ways to set up take-back systems, we analyse past informal-formal partnership initiatives to determine key factors necessary for scaling-up and replicating these initiatives across India. This paper details these findings, explaining how providing the right incentives or contractual agreements can channel e-waste to appropriate facilities and ensure a respectable income for informal collectors. This can lead to formation of sustainable partnerships which will help producers fulfil EPR obligations in the non-OECD context and have a positive social, economic and environmental impact in the area of e-waste management.