Recycling targets for plastic waste announced by the Center
the Minister of the Environment listed draft rules that required producers of plastic packaging materials to collect all of their products by 2024 and ensure that a minimum percentage of them are recycled and even used in further sourcing.
He also specified a system whereby manufacturers and users of plastic packaging can collect certificates called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates and even redeem them.
Also read: EPR has made drastic changes in the plastic waste management system
The notice is now requested to come into force on 6e December and for now, is open for public comment
Plastics that cannot be recycled such as multi-material multi-layer plastics will be eligible to be sent to end-of-life such as road construction, energy waste, oil and cement kiln waste, and even here too, only methods that are listed by the Central Pollution Control Commission will be authorized for their disposal.
In 2019, around 660,787.85 tonnes of plastic waste was produced in India each year, of which around 60% would be almost recycled. Almost 43% are packaging materials and the maximum is single-use plastic.
Plastic packaging, according to the rules made public on the 6the October, fall into 3 categories: the first is “rigid” Plastic; category 2 is “flexible single-layer or multi-layer plastic packaging (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheeting and lids made of plastic sheeting, transport bags (including bags compostable plastic transport), bags or plastic bags; and the third category is known as multilayer plastic packaging, which has at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic.
Plastic producers will be required to report to the government, through a centralized website, how much plastic they manufacture each year. Companies will have to take at least 35% of the target by 2021-2022, 70% by 2022-2023 and 100% by 2024.
There are the same goals, with slight variations, for companies that use packaging materials and import them as well.
If entities cannot fulfill their obligations on their own, they must “case by case” be allowed to purchase certificates compensating for their shortfall from organizations that have used recycled materials more than their obligation. The CPCB will announce a “mechanism” for such exchanges on a centralized online portal.
Non-compliance, however, will not invite a traditional fine. Instead, a “Environmental compensation” will be imposed, although the rules do not specify the amount of this compensation.
Entities that fail to meet their goals or do not purchase enough credits to meet their annual goal must pay a fine. If they reached their goals within 3 years, they could get a 40% refund.
From July 2022, the production of a range of plastic products must be banned. These include headphones with plastic sticks, plastic balloon sticks, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, thermocols for decoration, plates, mugs, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, trays, wrapping or wrapping films around party favors, party invitations and cigarette packs, plastic or PVC banners of less than 100 microns and agitators.