The Department of Environment has recommended including the provision in the upcoming e-waste rules
To control e-waste in Bangladesh, the government is planning to introduce a cash back policy—for those who return used electronics to producers and distributors of the products.
The Department of Environment has recommended including the provision in the upcoming e-waste rules. The draft of the rules is being developed and will soon be sent to the Law Ministry for vetting.
According to the proposal: sellers, manufacturers, distributors, or assemblers will give a certain amount of cash back to the custumer – or institute – as an incentive, if they return the product after using it.
The objective of the rule is to reduce the increasing electronic waste being disposed of in nature by returning used products to the manufacturers—for recycling and reuse.
However, the draft does not mention the exact amount of money the users will receive after returning products.
While talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Mirza Shawkat Ali, director of the Department of Environment, said: “We have not yet finalized the amount, but it will be based on the original price of the product.”
Earlier, the government planned to introduce a rule to keep 5% of the product price, or a maximum of Tk2,000 as a deposit with the producers or sellers—and later hand over money to users, with interest, when they return products.
Mirza said: “However, the plan was cancelled during the inter-ministerial meeting acouple of weeks ago, as the system will burden the countrymen.”
The proposed rule – E-waste Management Rules 2017– will be the guideline to managing e-waste in the country under the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act 1995 (No 1).
A study, conducted by the Environment and Social Development Organization (Esdo), shows that e-waste has increased significantly in recent years. At present Bangladesh generates roughly 10.019 million tons of e-waste every year.
Data also shows that in 2013, more than 23.5 million mobile handsets were imported to Bangladesh. The figure was 13.1m in 2012 and 9.8m in 2011.
Electronic waste, which contains large amounts of toxic components like: mercury, lead, cadmium, polybrominated flame retardants, barium, and polyvinyl chlorideand lithium, affects nearly every system in the human body.
These toxins create negative impacts on humans, including birth defects as well as: brain, heart, liver, kidney, and skeletal system damage.
Even the nervous and reproductive systems of the human body can be severely affected by this type of toxins.
Examples from across the globe
Many developed countries, including Germany and South Korea, are already running similar cash back or incentive programs to manage critical waste.
According to the Federal Environment Office of Germany, a mechanism known as “divided product responsibility” was instituted in the country for electrical and electronic waste disposal operations.
Manufacturers are free to provide their own recycling mechanisms, and retailers are also allowed to take back electrical and electronic waste.
By law, the consumers are required to take their electrical and electronic waste to such facilities.
In South Korea, the country initially levied a deposit on buying a certain electronic products, which would be refunded after returning the products when it is out-of-order.
Later, the producers were made responsible to recycle the products and report to the government about it.
In Bangladesh, battery manufacturers are taking old batteries in exchange for a small payment—and recycles them.