EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) in India 2.32 million tons of plastic packaging covered

Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, in a written response to a query in Lok Sabha, informed that identified single-use plastic products, which have high littering potential and low utility, have already been banned, w.e.f 1st July 2022, vide Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2021 introduced on 12th August 2021. The notification also prohibits the import, manufacture, stocking, distribution, use and sale of plastic carry bags with a thickness of less than seventy-five microns with effect from 30th September 2021 and with a thickness less than the thickness of 120 microns with product from the 31st December 2022.

MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change) introduced the regulations on EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) for plastic packaging vide Plastic Waste Management (PWM) (Amendment) Rules, 2022, on 16th February 2022. The rules stipulate compulsory targets on recycling of plastic packaging waste, EPR, reuse of rigid plastic packaging and use of recycled plastic content. The norms provide for sustainable plastic packaging and minimising the plastic footprint. Implementing a plastic ban on identified single-use plastic items and EPR on plastic packaging will decrease pollution caused by unmanaged and littered plastic waste.

6186 Producers, Importers and Brand Owners (PIBOs) have been registered on the Centralised Online EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) Portal on Plastic Packaging. The registered PIBOs collectively have almost 2.32 million tons of plastic packaging covered under EPR for 2022-2023, which protects plastic packaging used for food packaging. Further, 1715 plastic waste processors are registered on the EPR portal with a cumulative plastic waste processing potential of 17 million annually.

Moreover, to create options to prohibit single-use plastics, the MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change) organised the "India Plastic Challenge - Hackathon 2021" for startups and students of Universities and colleges. Two startups that created alternative packaging materials were awarded. One startup created a completely biodegradable option to thermocol from paddy straw waste. The other startup created packaging material using seaweed.

To assist MSME enterprises transitioning from single-use plastic products to eco-alternatives, the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) has made provisions in their ongoing schemes. A National Expo on eco-alternatives to prohibited single-use plastics products and Conference of Startups - 2022 was arranged jointly with the Government of Tamil Nadu in Chennai on 26 - 27 September 2022 to create awareness of options. Awareness creation and potential building programmes have been arranged to eliminate single-use plastics. More than 150 eco-alternative manufacturers from across the nation participated in the Expo. The eco-alternatives were made from bagasse, coir, wheat and rice bran, agricultural and plant residue, areca and banana leaves, cloth and jute.

Diksha Khiatani

A writer by day and a reader at night. Emerging from an Engineering background, Diksha has completed her M. Tech in Computer Science field. Being passionate about writing, she started her career as a Writer. She finds it interesting and always grabs time to research and write about Environmental laws and compliances. With extensive knowledge on content writing, she has been delivering high-quality write-ups. Besides, you will often find her with a novel and a cuppa!

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