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Producers and E-Waste: Indonesia

I have lost count of the number of computers, laptops and mobile phones that I have discarded over the years. They usually get put into some shed somewhere and finally get thrown out instead of recycling them as they do now.

Now, the Indonesian government intends to enforce [through legislation] producers to take responsibility for their products whether it be financially or recycling as Adianto P. Simamora reports from Jakarta.

Producers obliged to take back e-waste

The government plans to bring in a policy that obliges manufacturers in the electronics industry to take back electronic waste.

The so-called extended producer responsibility (EPR) requires electronics firms to be financially responsible for the collection and recycling of e-waste.

“The ERP has been widely-practiced in a number of countries. We want to adopt it here. The headquarters of some manufacturers are already familiar with the policy,” Herri Hamdani, a member of the State Ministry for the Environment’s hazardous substances unit, said.

“It would be easier for manufacturers if they had the example set by their headquarters to follow.”

The plan has already been floated by the ministry in discussions with electronic manufacturers.

Indonesia ratified the Basel Convention — an international agreement that was developed to address the uncontrolled dumping of hazardous waste — in 1993. This requires it to develop measures to manage its e-waste properly.

The ERP was first implemented in Germany in 1991 due to the country’s landfill shortage problem. Since then, the policy has rapidly become popular in European countries and the Asia region.
Herri said Japan had issued a policy that made the use of ERP mandatory for its electronics makers.

“The price of a product includes the cost of recycling it. The user only need contact the producer to give back an outdated device.”

The United Nations Environment Program estimates the world produces up to 50 million tons of e-waste a year, less than 10 percent of which is recycled.

Toxic chemicals in broken electronic devices — such as lead, arsenic, mercury or zinc — can seep into the land over time or be released into the atmosphere, impacting nearby communities and the environment.

The government says the number of imported second-hand electronic devices has continued to rise over the last 10 years.

Adianto P. Simamora