Our e-waste collection initiative includes other brands also, says Rothin Bhattacharya of HCL Infosystems

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Sustainability Outlook spoke to Mr. Rothin Bhattacharya, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Strategy & Business Development at HCL Infosystems about their e-waste management practices. 

Can you describe briefly the kind of e-waste initiatives by HCL.

At HCL, we have adopted diverse initiatives to reduce our operational impact on the environment. These include various energy saving initiatives at our offices, IT infrastructure efficiency improvement, environmental practices at manufacturing plants and green products and services for customers. For example, HCL is the first company in India to launch a laptop (HCL ME Laptop M54) that complies with the BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) standards, even when there was an absence of any mandatory norms on energy efficiency for electronic products.

Also at HCL we have started the “Green Bag Campaign” under which we are collecting e waste from our customers and clients. We have collection centers spread across India. We are also reaching out to all our customers and spreading awareness about proper recycling of electronic waste. Under the campaign HCL Infosystems have taken the following initiatives:

o    In all the products shipped, HCL includes the e-waste related FAQs and contact details of all its e-waste collection centres

o    In all its user meets, HCL shares the e-waste management details with its customers

o    Apart from corporate customers, HCL has extended its e-waste collection program to retail customers also through its HCL Collection Centres spread across the country

We have been seeing a continuous improvement in e-waste collections since the last five years. Last year we have collected close to 83 tonnes of e-waste which is almost 100 % more than what we collected in the year 2010-2011.

Does the company also have some formal e-waste management policy in place? If not, are there any plans to come up with the same?

Yes, We have a formal e-waste management policy in place which is called the ecoSafe programme. Some of our e-waste initiatives are as follows:

• Initiative on reuse and recycling internal waste - 'Internal Waste Management' – We have an extensive internal waste management system for recovery, reuse and recycling of waste generated from within the organization. All by-products generated during manufacturing are recycled by authorized recyclers in an environmentally friendly manner and all WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronics Equipment) generated in the organization is forwarded to these recyclers for disposal

As far as energy conservation is considered, HCL’s all PC products have incorporated Green PC features and ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface)mode for power saving

• Internal audit reports on the quantity of e-waste collected and recycled – At HCL Infosystems, we  maintain a monthly e-waste report for the amount of e-waste generated and recycled in the organization. It also receives destruction certificates from the recycling agency for each consignment.

• HCL’s initiatives on recycled materials - HCL have initiated measures to use recycled plastics in their products. HCL is committed to increase the use of recycled plastics and is targeting that 15% of all plastic requirements for HCL products to be supplied in the form of recycled plastic

• HCL-Green Belt Creation – We have organized a Go-green campaign across the country where HCL employees across India have planted trees

The HCL’s e-waste policy begins from the very beginning of the manufacturing process. HCL designs its products in a way that they can easily be dismantled later on. The company has even enabled the customers to put up an email request for collection of e-waste.

All our generated e-waste are recycled. Also we have a collection mechanism to collect e-waste from our customers and our efforts are always geared to collect the maximum possible e-waste for recycling.

Which year did the company start developing the electronic waste take back initiatives in India? Has this changed in any way since the E-waste rules have come in place?

We developed our electronic waste take back initiatives way back in the year 2005-06. We have increased the collection of e-waste year on year for the last 6 years.

Does the e-waste take back initiative ensure the collection of the electronic waste of only own brand from the consumers or from other brands as well?

Our e-waste collection initiative includes other brands also.

How much electronic waste has been collected by the company so far? Over how many years?

We have collected more than 300 tonnes of e-waste in the last 6 years.

How many e-waste collection centers does HCL have and in which states? Is there someplace where the complete list can be seen by consumers?

We have 21 collection centers which are – 

Are the collection centers stand-alone for the company or set up in partnership with other producer companies/recyclers etc.?

The collection centres are set up in partnership with recyclers

What does the company do with the collected e- waste – is it sent to an authorized recycler/ refurbisher?

We send the e-waste to external Government authorized recyclers, who have the capabilities to further recycle the e-waste completely.

Does the company have any employee awareness programs on electronic waste recycling?

Yes we do such programs once in a quarter.

Is the company transparently reporting the amount of e-waste recycled on their website/sustainability report?

Yes the data is available on our website.

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Author: Roselin Dey