EPR or extended producer’s responsibility, is a globally standardized plastic pollution policy under which the manufacturer is responsible for properly disposing and recycling the plastic waste it produces.It can also be dilineated as a policy approach under which producers are given responsibility ,physical or financial ,for the treatment and disposal of post consumer waste.
There are two global models which countries align themselves to, and subsequently place responsibility on brand and companies to make sure that the plastic they produce gets treated properly. One is given by the United Nations and one by the OECD(Organisation for economic cooperation and development) ,the latter being commonly referred to as the European model.
The EPR framework pertaining to India.
The Ministry of environment ,forest and climate change (MOEFC) prepared India’s national framework for EPR with an aim to provide guidance to companies to comply with India’s plastic legislation .It provides brands and manufacturers with the direction to manage the plastic they produce ,whilst also making it mandatory for them to collect and recycle it.
The EPR framework can be broken into 3 components ,with different models suited for different kinds of business- small ,medium or large. The first one , a fee based model ,intended for small business , makes it necessary for these businesses to contribute to EPR funds which will pay local bodies to recycle the plastic they produce. Medium and large businesses with no experience of recycling can hire PROs ( producer responsibility organisations ) which manage the waste for these institutions. The Plastic for change is one such organisation that can act as a PRO . Similarly ,larger businesses can use the credit system ,in which they can acquire credits if they send plastic to recycling units.
The government is also pushing manufacturers to install evidence based mechanisms so that the authorities can effectively track the amount of waste they produce .
Although this initiative to excercise EPR in India was launched back in 2016, there is still an absence of a much needed comprehensive plan.Recently ,as many companies failed to collect their non biodegradable waste as part of EPR ,the state government has made plans to introduce a system to collect an annual fee from such companies. This fund is proposed to come under EPR and will be utilised to fund the waste management and source collection of waste by local bodies.