EPR in Waste Management in India

Due to India’s large population, fast-developing economy, and growing plastic garbage, an efficient and effective plastic waste management (PWM) system is required to ensure an environmentally cleaner and sustainable future. As a result, India’s PWM policy has lately shifted from being an informally organized, generally uncoordinated set of programs to a formal and integrated system based on the extended producer responsibility (EPR) concept.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a concept that refers to the practice of assigning producers responsible for the end-of-life management of products and materials. There are two basic objectives in developing such a system:

  • Municipalities will be relieved of their burden by producers sharing physical and/or financial responsibilities for waste management.
  • Providing incentives for manufacturers to produce goods that are resource-efficient and have a low environmental effect.

EPR systems have helped to develop effective alternative collection plans for specific waste streams, such as plastic packaging. The industry is now covering at least a portion of the investment and operational costs for waste management of used packaging. This has the potential to be a great benefit for developing countries because the incapacity of governmental or communal organizations to cover the entire cost of waste collection, sorting, and recycling makes it difficult to construct an effective waste management system.

In the case of EPR In plastic waste management, who needs an EPR?

Every producer, brand owner, recycler, and manufacturer of plastic must register with the State Pollution Control Board or the Union Territory’s Pollution Control Committee.

Every trash generator, local body, Gram Panchayat, manufacturer, importer, and producer of plastic materials is subject to the Plastic Waste Management rules.

India’s EPR Policies

Electronic waste and plastic packaging waste are currently covered by EPR rules in India.

For the first time in India, the E-Waste (Management & Handling) Rules 2011 established the idea of EPR. All manufacturers of electronics, including phones, computers, and washing machines, were responsible for establishing reverse logistics for collecting E-Waste and channelizing it to State Pollution Control Board-approved recyclers.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change notified the new E-Waste (Management) Rules 2016 in March 2016, amending the E-Waste policy. The new laws impose strict objectives on manufacturers to collect and recycle EOL items, starting at 30% in the first two years and increasing to 70% by the seventh year, while also streamlining the EPR Authorization application process. The Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 also mandate EPR for plastic producers in the country, and after two years of implementation, the manufacture of non-recyclable plastics has been banned.

REGISTRATION/IMPLEMENTATION

  • The process starts with CPCB/SPCB registration and the submission of CPCB-required documents, which include an action plan, agreement, certificates, licenses, and other items.
  • The next step is for an authorized waste management agency to collect an agreed volume of post-consumer plastic waste from the desired area over the course of a year and recycle or dispose of it securely according to CPCB/SPCB criteria.
  • The waste collection agency will give documents of waste collection operations in the form of relevant documents.
  • Submit a quarterly report to the CPCB on their behalf.
  • The agency will submit a final report to PIBOM after the task is completed.