Greenpeace study reveals E-Brands faltering on e-waste takeback in India

Press release - August 4, 2008
NEW DELHI, India — Even as India heads for a looming e-waste crisis, most of the global electronic brands have no functioning e-waste takeback services in India. This is the case despite many of these brands providing a voluntary takeback service in other countries. However, the study released today, “TakeBack Blues: An Assessment of E-waste Takeback in India,” also reveals that some companies are already part of the possible solution for this problem: Even in the absence of legislation, Indian brands like HCL and WIPRO are offering pan-Indian voluntary takeback and recycling service to their customers.

India in 2007 generated 380,000 tonnes of e-waste from discarded Computers, Televisions and Mobile Phones

The study presents the position of each brand on IPR (Individual Producer Responsibility), and its application on the ground through the takeback services offered in India. The report is available at

"The findings from this study are absolutely shocking. It seems like e-waste takeback in India is in no way a priority for global brands; otherwise, how can one explain the irresponsible conduct of brands like Sony, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, Samsung and Philips, which have no take-back service in India whatsoever?" questioned Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace Toxics campaigner and the principal investigator for this study.

Greenpeace examined the policy-and-practice on e-waste takeback offered by 20 e-brands in India. Incredibly, only one global brand (Acer) and two India brands (HCL and Wipro) have functioning takeback services in India. HCL and WIPRO are ahead of most of their counterparts in implementing their takeback service on the ground. On the other hand, big brands like Nokia, LG Electronics and Motorola are still not able to make their takeback service in India fully operational. Market leader HP, along with other PC makers DELL and LENOVO, is involved in green-wash, as their takeback service is completely non-existent on ground. With the exception of two brands (Acer and HCL), no brand has come out publicly on the issue of supporting e-waste legislation in India.

Legislation embracing Producer Responsibility for e-waste is already in force in the EU, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and some US states. Greenpeace expects responsible companies to treat all their customers globally in the same way, and offer takeback and recycling services wherever their products are sold - not just in countries where this is a legal requirement

A group of both global and Indian electronic brands active in India has committed to work on developing legislation embracing the principle of Producer Responsibility, so it is important to use the existing experiences of companies providing or trying to provide takeback and recycling services in India to ensure that any legislation to address this issue is effective in the Indian situation.

India in 2007 generated 1040 tonnes of e-waste every day from discarded Computers, Televisions and Mobile Phones. This is projected to grow to more than double by 2012, to 800,000 per annum with a growth rate of 15 %. At present, merely 3% of the e-waste reaches authorized recyclers while remaining lands in informal recycling yard causing threat to environment and public health.

 "Those brands which have no policy for takeback in India, must immediately announce such service without any lapse. And those brands whose take-back service is not working on the ground need to tighten the noose" demanded Abhishek. "These measures need to be backed by policy based on IPR that provides for the entire life cycles of a product."

The study report focuses only on the policies and practices of electronic brands on the Indian market and therefore its findings are not applicable to other countries

For further information, contact

Ramapati Kumar, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner +91 98455 35414
Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner +91 98456 10749
Saumya Tripathy, Greenpeace Communications +91 93438 62212