The majority of e-waste in India is processed by the informal sector. E-waste contains both hazardous elements as well as valuable materials that could be extracted and sold. In order to address this growing issue, the Government of India recently issued the E-Waste Management Rules. The rules require producers to meet annual collection targets that increase with each passing year and encourages the collection of e-waste through Producer Responsibility Organizations (“PROs”). PROs are businesses that “channelize” e-waste towards clean recycling processes on behalf of producers.

The PRO sector is at a nascent stage with only a handful of operations in Delhi. There is an opportunity for new players in this rapidly growing market.

Chintan Environmental Research Group (“Chintan”) is an environmental non-profit with a long history of working in e-waste and EPIC-India, conducted a census of informal e-waste operations in Delhi, and analyzed a novel dataset of the types of e-waste handled, volumes collected, and purchase prices of e-waste products, as well as the locations of thousands of e-waste enterprises.

For this project, the Energy Policy Institute gratefully acknowledges generous research support provided by the Tata Centre for Development (TCD) at UChicago.

Project Partners

Tata Centre for Development at UChicago

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The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago develops innovative, integrated approaches to tackling some of India’s most pressing development issues. With generous support from the Tata Trusts, the Tata Centre combines implementation, research and executive education to execute ambitious pilots, evaluate new solutions, and spread insights to key decision-makers who can translate research findings and successful pilots into wider impact. The Centre is housed at the Harris School of Public Policy in Chicago and the University of Chicago Trust in India.

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

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The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government for the planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of India’s environmental and forestry policies and programmes. The primary concerns of the Ministry are implementation of policies and programmes relating to conservation of the country’s natural resources including its lakes and rivers, its biodiversity, forests and wildlife, ensuring the welfare of animals, and the prevention and abatement of pollution. While implementing these policies and programmes, the Ministry is guided by the principle of sustainable development and enhancement of human well-being. The Ministry also serves as the nodal agency in the country for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and for the follow-up of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The Ministry is also entrusted with issues relating to multilateral bodies such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and of regional bodies like Economic and Social Council for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) and South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) on matters pertaining to the environment.


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Chintan is an environmental research and action group that works for environmental justice in partnership with people and groups from diverse sections of society. Their focus is on ensuring equitable and sustainable production and consumption of materials, and improved disposal of waste.