Indian ‘Draft Waste Management Rules, 2015′ include trade prohibitions

Source: Bureau of International Recycling

Brussels — The Indian draft Waste Management Rules propose to prohibit the import of certain electronic goods and tyres for reuse, and certain non-hazardous waste and/or scrap electronics and waste and/or scrap plastics for material recycling.

The public notice of the end of July from the Government of India Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, allows comment for 60 days following the respective publication of some five rules, those being the: ‚Solid Waste Management Rules, 2015‘; ‚Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2015‘; ‚Plastic-Waste Management Rules, 2015‘; ‚Amendment of the Fly Ash Utilisation Notification‘; and the ‚e-waste Management Rules, 2015‘.

Of particular interest to BIR Members the ‚Draft Waste Management Rules, 2015‚ include trade prohibitions. The prohibited goods, wastes and scrap in its Schedule VI table of „Hazardous wastes prohibited for import“ (see pages 45 to 47 of the Draft Rules) include:

32. B 1110 Electronic assemblies consisting only of metals or alloys

32. B 1110 Used critical care medical equipment for re-use

33. B 3010 Solid plastic waste

34. B3140 Waste pneumatic tyres for direct reuse

36. Y 46 Wastes collected from households

BIR comments that directly reusable goods, both “used critical care medical equipment for re-use” and “pneumatic tyres for direct reuse” are commonly regarded as products and not as wastes. Besides any question of sterilisation of medical equipment for re-use is not a question for waste legislation, whilst safety criteria for pneumatic tyres is a product standard matter. Also in respect of the last entry above that international, regional and national laws commonly have not caught up with the fact that amongst the best quality recyclables are those ‘separately collected fractions’ such as paper, metal, glass, and plastic, that householders have kept separate from other mixed household wastes.

The United Nations agreement on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal’ includes in its scope ‘Y 46 Wastes collected from households’ but did not foresee that separately collected fractions from households would be very desirable for recyclers due to the efforts of householders to keep the paper, metal, glass, and plastic separate and clean and so of high quality. Whilst laws requiring householders to sort these specific recyclables and provide them for separate collection are a prerequisite for reaching high recycling levels and feeding industry with quality materials, such laws only exist in a minority of countries.

Interesting to note, newspapers report these import prohibitions are made in order to boost domestic recycling. Which begs the question whether there are effective laws requiring Indian householders to sort specific recyclables and provide them for separate collection, and whether Indian industries send their unwanted materials for recycling and not to incineration or landfill.

BIR Trade & Environment Director, Ross Bartley explains: “Indian companies that are economically dependent on imported volumes of recyclable material infeed, and which have no power to access or increase domestic collection of recyclables, will likely suffer from this legislation as it comes into effect.”

Source: Bureau of International Recycling