A circular economy could manifest as options for extended producer responsibility EV battery waste

Due to the increasing number of electric vehicles (EVs) in the city, EV battery waste is increasing along the lines of electronic waste (e-waste) besides mobiles, laptops, computers and other electronics. According to experts, a circular economy or extended producer responsibility (EPR) could emerge as options to dispose of EV battery waste, though the central government will decide on the policies in this regard.

Under the EPR system, EV battery waste is the responsibility of manufacturers, where manufacturers can deploy new technologies to reuse batteries. Whereas in a circular economy, EV batteries can be used for many different purposes. (Representative photo)

Mangesh DK, Environment Officer, Pune Municipal Corporation (BMC), said that currently, EV batteries have a lifespan of five to six years, but this could increase with the march of technology. While there is no concrete plan for disposal of EV battery waste at the PMC level, a circular economy and EPR (currently used for plastic waste) may emerge as options at the central level. Under the EPR system, EV battery waste is the responsibility of manufacturers, where manufacturers can deploy new technologies to reuse batteries. Whereas in a circular economy, EV batteries can be used for many different purposes.

According to Harshad Barde, director of SWaCH, the 'use and throw away system’ may contribute to the generation of more e-waste, where not only old/unused items are dumped as waste, but relatively new/still-in-use items are thrown away by citizens.

„At SWaCH we implement a waste collection drive called 'V Collection’ through which waste, including e-waste, is collected. This is then segregated at our facilities and the e-waste is handed over to Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB)-registered recyclers,” Barde said.

„In recent years, we have been experiencing a growing trend in e-waste generation. In 2022, e-waste collection was relatively low, but the volume of e-waste collected till July 2023 is almost half of that collected in 2022. As the movement will pick up after the festive season, the volume will further increase. is expected to rise, Barde said.

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