• Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change announced the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022, which notified the instructions on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for plastic packaging.
  • Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 has been amended to fast-track the elimination of single-use plastics and promote alternatives.
  • The term Extended Procedure Responsibility means the responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life.

Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016

  • It mandates the generators of plastic waste to take steps to minimize generation of plastic waste, prevent littering of plastic waste, and ensure segregated storage of waste at source among other measures.
  • The rules also mandate the responsibilities of local bodies, gram panchayats, waste generators, retailers and street vendors to manage plastic waste.

Classification of Plastics:

Category 1:

Rigid plastic packaging will be included under this category.

Category 2:

Flexible plastic packaging of 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 will be included under this category.

Category 3:

Multi-layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic) will be included under this category.

Category 4: Plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as carry bags made of compostable plastics fall under this category.

Plastic Packaging:

  • Reuse of rigid plastic packaging material has been mandated in the guidelines to reduce the use of fresh plastic material for packaging.
  • The enforceable prescription of minimum level of recycling of plastic packaging waste collected under EPR along with use of recycled plastic content will further reduce plastic consumption and support recycling of plastic packaging waste.

Significance of the Guidelines

  • It will promote development of new alternatives to plastics and provide a roadmap for businesses to move towards sustainable plastic packaging.
  • The guidelines provide a framework to strengthen the circular economy of plastic packaging waste.
  • A circular economy depends on reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling of resources to create a closed-loop system, minimising the use of resources, generation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions.
  • These are important steps for reducing pollution caused due to littered plastic waste in the country.
  • India generates about 3.4 million tonnes of plastic waste annually. The United Nations Development Programme aims to almost triple its plastic waste management to 100 cities in India by 2024.
  • Accumulation of plastic waste is detrimental to the environment and when this waste finds its way into the sea, there can be major harm to aquatic ecosystems, too.

Way Forward

  • A blanket ban will not stop manufacturers from producing single-use plastic products.
  • Finding substitutes for use-and-throw plastic and ensuring alternative livelihoods for producers, waste pickers and other groups involved in the business will go a long way in solving the problem.


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