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Centre Notifies Guidelines on Plastic Packaging

  • Published
    19th Feb, 2022
Context

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recently published the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022 through which it has notified the guidelines on extended procedure responsibility for plastic packaging.

About

New Amendments in Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022:

  • The term “extended procedure responsibility” refers to a manufacturer’s responsibility for the environmentally sound management of a product until it reaches the end of its useful life.
    • The recommendations lay out a framework for putting Extended Producer Responsibility into action.
    • Producers, importers, brand owners, the Central Pollution Control Board, State Pollution Control Boards or Pollution Control Committees, recyclers, and waste processors all have roles and responsibilities under the Extended Producer Responsibility Guidelines. 
  • According to the new rules, plastics have been classified into four categories:
    1. category one will include rigid plastic packaging;
    2. Category two will include 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.
    3. Category three will include multi-layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic)
    4. Category four will include plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as carry bags made of compostable plastics.
  • Specifications for reuse, recycling, use of recycled plastic content, and end-of-life disposal of non-recyclable plastic packaging also featured in the EPR.
  • The ministry has also called for setting up a centralised online portal by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the registration as well as filing of annual returns by producers, importers and brand-owners, plastic waste processors of plastic packaging waste.
  • The EPR target will be increased to 70% in 2022-23 and 100% from 2023-24 onwards.
  • The recycling obligation for producers will be 50% for rigid plastics in 2024-25, 60% in 2025-26, 70% in 2026-27, and 80% from 2027-28 onwards. 

Plastic Waste Management Amendment Regulations, 2021:

  • The Department of Environment has introduced the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Regulations, 2021.
  • These laws prohibit certain types of plastic items that are used and have 'low use and high waste disposal capacity' by 2022.
  • The permissible size of plastic bags, currently 50 microns, will be increased to 75 microns from September 30, 2021, and to 120 microns from December 31, 2022.
  • High-strength plastic bags are easily treated as waste and have high recycling performance.
  • At the policy level, the concept of Extended Product Responsibility (EPR), already mentioned under the 2016 Regulations, should be promoted.
  • EPR is a policy in which producers are given significant, financial and / or physical responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board, together with state pollution agencies, will monitor the ban, identify violations, and impose fines already imposed under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986.
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