Guidelines on EPR for Plastic Packaging

Under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued guidelines on Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) on plastic packaging.

Overview

With effect from July 1, 2022, the rules on extended producer responsibility, as well as the prohibition of selected single-use plastic items with low usefulness and high littering potential, are essential measures in reducing pollution caused by plastic waste in the country.

What do the guidelines say?

The guidelines establish a framework for improving the circular economy of plastic packaging waste, promoting the development of plastic alternatives, and establishing steps for firms moving toward sustainable plastic packaging. To limit the consumption of new plastic material for packaging, the standards require the reuse of rigid plastic packaging material.

The guidelines will help in the formalization and growth of the plastic waste management industry. The guidelines enable the sale and purchase of surplus extended producer responsibility certificates, establishing a market mechanism for plastic waste management for the first time.

The guidelines establish a framework for levying environmental compensation based on the polluter pays principle when producers, importers, and brand owners fail to meet extended producer responsibility targets, with the goal of protecting and improving the environment and preventing, controlling, and lessening pollution.

Environmental compensation does not exempt producers, importers, or brand owners of their responsibilities under these rules. Unfulfilled EPR responsibilities will be carried forward to the next year.

Implementation

EPR will be implemented through a customized web platform. The online portal will allow organizations to track and monitor their EPR requirements, as well as lessen their compliance burden by allowing them to register and file annual filings online. A system of verification and audit of firms will be implemented in order to verify that EPR responsibilities are met.

The government has also requested that the Central Pollution Control Board create a centralized online platform by March 31 for the registration and filing of yearly returns by producers, importers, and brand owners.

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