- 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.
- 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.
- 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