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Environment Ministry Notified EPR Guidelines for Plastic Packaging Waste

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Centre notifies EPR norms for plastic packaging wasteThe Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has amended the Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016, to accelerate the elimination of single-use plastic and promote alternatives.

The Ministry has notified comprehensive Guidelines on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for plastic packaging under Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. 

  • Following the amendment, these rules are called the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022.
  • The guidelines on EPR along with the prohibition of identified single-use plastic items with effect from 1st July 2022 will play a major role in reducing pollution caused due to littering of plastic waste in India. 

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR):

i.The MoEFCC notification dated 16th February 2022 mentions 4 plastic packaging categories under EPR and set the EPR target as 25 % for 2021-2022 ;70 % for 2022-2023; and 100 % for 2023-2024.

ii.The 4 plastic packaging categories classified by the new rules are, 

  • Category 1: It will include rigid plastic packaging; 
  • Category 2: It will include flexible plastic packaging of a single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags, plastic sachet or pouches.
  • Category 3: It will include multi-layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic). 
  • Category 4: It will include plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as carry bags made of compostable plastics.

iii.The EPR Guidelines provides a framework to strengthen the circular economy of plastic packaging waste and promotes the development of new alternatives to plastics.

iv.Regarding plastic packaging, EPR covers reuse, recycling, use of recycled plastic content and end of life disposal by producers, importers and brand owners.

v.To reduce the use of fresh plastic material for packaging, the guidelines mandated the reuse of rigid plastic packaging material.

The implementation of the EPR will be done through a customized online platform 

Centralized Online Portal:

i.By 31st March 2022, a centralised online portal by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), will be established for the registration and filing of annual returns by producers, importers and brand-owners, plastic waste processors of plastic packaging waste.

ii.This portal will act as a single point repository with respect to the guidelines related to the implementation of EPR for plastic packaging under Plastic Waste Management Rule, 2016.

CPCB’s committee: 

CPCB will also constitute a committee under the Chairmanship CPCB chairman, to recommend the measures for effective implementation of EPR, including amendments to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) guidelines.

Key Points:

i.The notification also specified that the non-recyclable plastics will be sent for end-of-life disposals such as road construction, waste to energy, waste to oil, and cement kilns.

ii.The EPR obligations and provisions of the new guidelines include plastic packaging producers, importers, brand owners, online platforms and marketplaces and supermarkets and retail chains other than those, which are micro and small enterprises as per the criteria set out by MSME

iii.Under the new guidelines, the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) or Pollution Control Committee(PCCs) will submit the annual report on the EPR portal with respect to its fulfilment by producers, importers and brand-owners and plastic waste processors in the state/Union Territory to the CPCB.

Recent Related News:

i.On August 13, 2021, in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 6, 8 and 25 of Environment (Protection) Act 1986, (29 of 1986), the Central Government amended the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016 with Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021.

ii.Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, addressed the 16th Sustainability Summit 2021 of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) named ‘16th Sustainability Building a Resilient Future Leveraging Science, Technology & Finance’.

  • India has entered into the top 10 list of agricultural produce exporters.

About Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change:

Union Minister– Bhupender Yadav (Rajya Sabha – Rajasthan)
Minister of State– Ashwini Kumar Choubey (Constituency- Buxar, Bihar)