Producers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment take notice: India is the latest country to enact RoHS and WEEE legislation. Hazardous substance and electronic waste legislation is here to stay and is expanding worldwide.
RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substance) legislation was previously enacted in the European Union, Japan, China, Korea, and California. WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) legislation was enacted in the EU, Korea, 25 US states, and five Canadian provinces.
India is now on the list, and its new legislation (covering both RoHS and WEEE requirements) is known as the E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011. India's WEEE requirements will take effect in May 2012, and its RoHS requirements two years later. The requirements are similar to the EU's requirements.
India has long been plagued by the problem of backyard recycling. India's new legislation is a bold attempt to address that problem. I recently spoke with A. S. Sadashivaiah, chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board. He told me the challenges for his country will be in establishing and authorizing sufficient electronic waste recycling facilities, and with enforcement.
The new waste rule will significantly change the way electronic waste is handled in India. Producers, collection centers, dismantlers, and recyclers, to remain operating, will have to apply for a government-issued “Grant of Authorization” by July 31, 2012. Onsite storage of electronic waste will be limited to 180 days. The new RoHS rule will limit the amount of hazardous substances present in electronic products produced in India.
Who do you think will be next to enact RoHS or WEEE legislation? Will it be Australia or Thailand, where no formal RoHS rules exist but where electronic equipment manufacturers are already re-designing their products to remove hazardous substances? Will it be in the United States or Canada, where differing (non-uniform) state and provincial electronic waste rules are making compliance difficult for manufacturers and distributors? Tell me what you think.