Plastic products have become an essential part of our daily lives. It is produced on a massive scale all over the world. Plastic waste is generated at approximately 5.6 million tonnes per annum (TPA) in India. Its disposal is a significant issue. Recycling is a good way to reuse plastic products but finding a way to eliminate plastic is important.
To ensure the processing of plastic packaging waste, the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) regime is being implemented in the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. According to which, Producers, importers, and brand owners are responsible for ensuring that their plastic packaging waste is processed through recycling, re-use, or end-of-life disposal.
PIBO refers to producer, importer and brand owners. If you identify as a PIBO and have operations in India that include the use of plastic packaging, you fall under the obligation of EPR regardless of your turnover or scale of operations.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, Government of India, notified an amendment to the PWM Rules on February 16, 2022, according to which producers, importers, brand owners (PIBOs), and Plastic Waste Processors shall comply with Extended Producer Responsibility as per Guidelines given in Schedule II of PWM Rules.
According to EPR guidelines for plastic packaging, Producers, Importers, Brand-Owners, and Plastic Waste processors shall have to register through the centralized online EPR portal developed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). PIBOs shall have to obtain EPR Registration for Plastic Waste Management from CPCB.
PIBOs that operate in one or two states/UTs are required to register with the concerned State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB/PCC). PIBOs that operate in more than two states/UTs are required to register with CPCB.
PIBOs are required to ensure that plastic waste is processed through Plastic Waste Processors (PWPs) in accordance with an action plan in order to meet assigned EPR targets. They shall obtain a PWP certificate based on the amount of plastic waste processed by PWPs and use these certificates to meet their EPR targets. If any PIBO fails to comply with PWM rules, environmental compensation will be imposed, as well as disciplinary action.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) applies to the following plastic packaging categories:
Category I: Rigid plastic packaging
Category II: Single-layer or multilayer flexible plastic packaging (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets or similar and covers made of plastic sheets, carry bags, plastic sachets or pouches
Category III: Multi-layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic)
Category IV: Plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as compostable plastic carry bags.
BANNED SINGLE-USE PLASTIC ITEMS IN INDIA
According to the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021, it will be illegal to manufacture, import, stock, sell, distribute or use identified single-use plastic products from July 1, 2022.
The list of Single-Use Plastic (SUP) items that will be prohibited from 1st July 2022 are as follows:
- Earbuds with plastic sticks
- Plastic sticks for balloons
- Plastic flags
- Candy sticks
- Ice cream sticks
- Polystyrene (Thermocol) for Decoration
- Wrapping/packing films around sweet boxes
- Invitation cards
- Cigarette packets
- Plastic/PVC banners less than 100 microns