EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY

  • Recently, the Union Environment Ministry has come out with a draft notification for regulation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) under Plastic Waste Management rules 2016.
  • The draft specifies the quantity of waste that will have to be managed by producers, importers and brand owners who generate plastic packaging waste in India.
  • Earlier, the Ministry had notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021. These rules prohibit specific single-use plastic items which have “low utility and high littering potential” by 2022.

Important points:

  • It mandates producers of plastic packaging material to collect all of their produce by 2024 and ensure that a minimum percentage of it be recycled as well as used in subsequent supply.
  • Producers of plastic will be obliged to declare to the government, via a centralised website, how much plastic they produce annually.
  • It has also specified a system whereby makers and users of plastic packaging can collect certificates — called EPR certificates — and trade in them.
  • EPR means the responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product (plastic packaging) until the end of its life.
  • The certificates will help organisations in making up for their shortfall from other organisations that have used recycled content in excess of their obligation.

EPR Certificates:

  • If entities cannot fulfil their obligations, they will on a “case by case basis” be permitted to buy certificates.
  • The CPCB will develop a mechanism for such exchanges on a centralised online portal.
  • Non-compliance, however, will not invite a traditional fine. Instead an environmental compensation will be levied, though the rules do not specify how much this compensation will be.
  • Entities that do not meet their targets or do not purchase enough credits to meet their annual target must pay a fine.
  • Were they to meet their targets within three years, they stand to get a 40% refund. Beyond that, however, the money will be forfeited.
  • Funds collected in this way will be put in an escrow account and can be used in collection and recycling/end of life disposal of uncollected and non-recycled/ non-end of life disposal of plastic packaging waste on which the environmental compensation is levied.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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