Waste (SDG 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
e-waste is a significant component of companies’ solid waste management policies with the rise in the digitization of operations. We find that more service companies have reported e-waste management policies or plans as compared to the manufacturing companies.
E-waste management programs
Companies usually manage e-waste generated in their operations in three ways – a) dispose to authorized recyclers, b) have buy-back agreement with supplier and c) establish captive recycling facility.
The most adopted method is disposal to government approved recyclers. Most energy companies and few others reported that they have buy-back or reverse logistics agreement with their electronic suppliers or manufacturers. Some OEMs such as Maruti Suzuki and Toyota Kirloskar Motors are establishing mechanisms for lithium-ion battery collection and recycling, as part of their move into e-mobility. Separately, Titan company has a scientific disposal facility for used watch batteries.
Very few companies have programs for other stakeholders.
- Employees: Only four out of 100 companies, reported e-waste related programs for their employees. Tech Mahindra and Cisco conduct an e-waste collection drive for their employees. Rashtriya Fertilizers & Chemicals and Hindustan Zinc raised awareness among their employees regarding impact of e-waste generation on environment and advantages of e-waste disposal in a scientific manner.
- Customers: Reliance Industries and Cisco help their customers recycle their e-waste and Titan Company educates its customers about the harmful effects of non-scientific battery disposal.
- Community: Cummins partnered with various NGOs, schools and local communities to create awareness on e-waste.
- Supply chain: ITC gives preference to dealing with IT vendors having sound E-Waste management processes.
Community waste – both solid and liquid – is a significant challenge for the government. Companies participate at various stages of municipal waste management - from collection to recycling. They mostly reported programs for solid waste management.
Community waste management programs
As part of community solid waste management, companies mostly conduct clean-up campaigns with citizen groups for solid waste collection, segregation, composting and recycling. Some conduct behaviour change programs for children and communities. And a few, supplied waste collection or cleaning related equipment to government bodies.
Some companies utilize community solid waste as fuel in their operations. Cement companies (such as ACC, Shree Cements, UltraTech Cement) help dispose municipal solid waste by utilizing it as a fuel in their kilns.
Waste-to-energy plants too are set up by few companies. This is likely to mushroom in the near future, given our Government’s push for biofuels. NTPC has signed in-principle MoU with Surat and East Delhi Municipal Corporations for setting up state of art Waste-to-Energy plant.
We find that more companies are adopting technology to utilize treated municipal sewage water in their operations. Energy companies and public sector companies lead these initiatives.
Some leading companies across industries pledged to become a plastic-free organization in the near future. These were mostly service companies from IT and financials industries.
- Hero MotoCorp eliminated use of approximately 20% (5.0 Metric tonnes/month) of its single use plastic single use plastic from its operations.
Some consumer staples companies aim to make 100% of their packaging recyclable or reusable or compostable in the near term. Many are reducing layers in packaging and using recycled material for packaging. As part of the Extended Producer Responsibility rules, few companies have established reverse vending or collection points for plastic waste such as Coca-Cola. Some other companies offering reverse collection are Asian Paints and Reliance SMART.
Few companies have initiated programs to manage plastic used in their supply chain. Siemens reduced plastic consumption by provision of special trolley to store the components directly, thereby eliminating the need for plastic bags. ABFRL has stopped using master pre-pack polybags from January 2019, as a result 20 tonnes of plastic was saved in the supply chain. Havells not only encourages waste paper pulp trays as a replacement of plastic-based cushions, but is also working towards creating a cost-effective sustainable supply chain of this capacity crunched material in India for industrial packaging applications.
Community and employee plastic waste programs were for creating consumer awareness. Tata Chemicals initiated a Plastic Waste Management project ‘Clean & Plastic free’ city in Dwarka. For phase 2 of this project, a 30 MT waste management cum shredding unit is being set-up to treat plastics collected in a 100-km radius.