The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has recently presented a policy paper with the intention to replace the existing linear system with a circular economy. The paper, “Circular economy in electronics and electrical Sector,” proposes a paradigm shift in the electrical and electronics manufacturing sector with a circular economy to deal with e-waste.
“It serves as an alternative to the current model of the highly extractive and resource-intensive linear economy, and aims at maintaining and retaining the value of resources, products, and materials at their highest by keeping them in use as long as possible,” MeitY said in its policy paper.
Circular economy as a concept has been gaining ground globally. It uses a superior methodology of extracting the maximum value of electrical and electronic products by reusing, repairing, recovering, re-manufacturing, and regenerating products and materials at the end of each service value, instead of simply extracting materials. It intends to replace the current linear system of ‘take-make-dispose in the electrical and electronics manufacturing sector.
“India is the third-largest consumer of raw materials produced globally and estimated to consume nearly 15 billion tonnes of material by 2030 with the current economic trends. electronic and electrical equipment (EEE)-manufacturing is dependent on high material consumption with metals like iron, copper, silver, gold, aluminum, manganese, chromium, and zinc along with various rare earth elements. The rate of extraction of these abiotic resources for EEE manufacturing is significantly higher than the rate of their formation in nature. Ce approach will thus be imperative to fulfill the resource needs for the country,” the policy paper mentioned.
As per the proposed action plan, the makers of electrical and electronic products would be incentivized to make products with modular designs to reduce the fast obsolescence of products and resources. The plan also focuses on mining raw materials from electrical and electronic waste generated in urban areas so that manufacturers get continued access to such rare earth metals and other costly minerals at a low cost.
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