International Finance Corporation, the largest development finance institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, expects the electronic waste sector to create 450,000 direct jobs by 2025 across the value chain of collection, aggregation, dismantling, and recycling. There is potential to create another 180,000 jobs in the allied sectors of transportation and manufacturing.

IFC has been working in the e-waste sector since 2012. In response to the government’s E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2016, IFC and Karo Sambhav – a producer responsibility organization (PRO) – launched the India E-waste program in 2017 to demonstrate that a pan-India, grassroots-level solution to the sector’s challenges is possible. The program focused on supporting the PRO model and developing the ecosystem for responsible E-Waste management. Over 4,000 metric tons of e-waste has been collected from citizens and corporations and recycled responsibly under the program, and 2,260,000 citizens, including school children, sensitized for safe disposal of end-of-life electronics.

“IFC develops private sector solutions to solve complex challenges the world faces. Through the India E-Waste Program, we have created a scalable and inclusive private sector-led solution, which will boost formal employment and create investment opportunities in a fast growing sector in India,” said Vikramjit Singh, Senior Country Officer, IFC.

India is one of the fastest growing markets for electronics and the demand is projected to reach $400 billion by 2020. E-waste is the world’s fastest growing waste stream, where India accounts for more than 2 million tons of e-waste annually. This is expected to reach 5 million tons by 2020.

“The e-waste sector has significant potential to contribute to the country’s economy and generate employment. The electrical and electronics industry has been cooperating with the government and has shown considerable initiative for handling e-waste responsibly. If the responsibility is shared between the government, producers, and consumers of e-waste, then efficient management of e-waste can be successfully achieved in India. We are happy to see the commitment from IFC in helping the sector grow in a responsible manner,” said Sonu Singh, Joint Director, Hazardous Substances Management Division, Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.

The discussion during the conference highlighted the investment opportunities in the sector that have significant potential to contribute to the country’s economy in terms of capital investments and employment potential. IFC is working on a comprehensive investment potential analysis for the e-waste sector, which will soon be released.

Speaking at the event, Pranshu Singhal, Founder and Director of Karo Sambhav, said, “IFC’s partnership with us has acted as a catalyst for developing a robust ecosystem that enables a transparent and accountable system to channel e-waste for responsible recycling.”

Thomas Lindhqvist, the Swedish Academic often referred to as the ‘Father of Extended Producer Responsibility’, who was present at the event, said, “While individuals should be aware of the right practice to dispose e-waste, under EPR, the responsibility lies with the producers to ensure safe disposal of their products when they reach the end-of-life stage. Disposal of e-waste through the right channels can be ensured through effective implementation of the regulation.”

He emphasized on the importance of EPR as a policy tool to solve e-waste crisis across the world. He also spoke about the importance of promoting a circular economy to achieve a sustainable society.

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