New Delhi [India], February 18 (ANI): Taking forward the commitment to eliminate single-use plastics, the Environment Ministry has notified comprehensive guidelines on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for plastic packaging under Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
According to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the guidelines on extended producer responsibility coupled with the prohibition of identified single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, with effect from July 1, 2022, are important steps for reducing pollution caused by littered plastic waste in the country.
In a tweet on Thursday, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav stated that guidelines will promote the development of new alternatives to plastics and provide a roadmap for businesses to move towards sustainable plastic packaging.
“Taking forward the clarion call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to eliminate single-use plastics, Environment Ministry has notified comprehensive guidelines on extended producers responsibility on plastic packaging,” Yadav tweeted.
The minister said that the guidelines provide a framework to strengthen the circular economy of plastic packaging waste, promote the development of new alternatives to plastics and provide further next steps for moving towards sustainable plastic packaging by businesses. “Reuse of rigid plastic packaging material has been mandated in the guidelines to reduce the use of fresh plastic material for packaging,” Yadav said.
The Ministry said that the enforceable prescription of a minimum level of recycling of plastic packaging waste collected under EPR along with the use of recycled plastic content will further reduce plastic consumption and support the recycling of plastic packaging waste.
The EPR guidelines will give a boost for formalization and further development of the plastic waste management sector. As a significant first, the guidelines allow for the sale and purchase of surplus extended producer responsibility certificates, thus setting up a market mechanism for plastic waste management.
“The implementation of EPR will be done through a customized online platform which will act as the digital backbone of the system. The online platform will allow tracking and monitoring of EPR obligations and reduce the compliance burden for companies through online registration and filing of annual returns. In order to ensure monitoring on fulfilment of EPR obligations, the guidelines have prescribed a system of verification and audit of enterprises,” it said.
The guidelines prescribe a framework for the levy of environmental compensation based upon the polluter pays principle, with respect to non-fulfilment of extended producer responsibility targets by producers, importers and brand owners, for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environment pollution, the Ministry added.
It further said that the funds collected shall be utilized for collection, recycling and end of life disposal of uncollected plastic waste in an environmentally sound manner.
Under these producers, importers and brand owners may operate schemes such as deposit-refund system or buy-back or any other model in order to prevent the mixing of plastic packaging waste with solid waste. (ANI)
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