The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) recently released the Uniform Framework for Extended Producers Responsibility under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. In order to meet the governmental targets, producers ought to financially support collection systems, processing facilities, and the recycling industry to collect and process plastic.
Along with included additions like phasing out the manufacture and usage of non-recyclable multi-layered plastic, these practices intend to drive plastic waste in circulation at the highest value, lasting in congruity with the waste management hierarchy: Reduce> Reuse > Recycle > Recover > Dispose.
The practice has not been limited to India; it has been spread globally with implementation of various kinds of schemes including:
- Creation of a non-profitable body, backed by funding, that cooperates with local authorities to ensure efficient recycling of waste.
- A dual model: along with the industry having complete responsibility in waste management, there exists a collection system, with limited influence, specifically allocated to local authorities.
- A fraction of the cost of a product sold is reserved with the retailer until the container is returned by the customer.
To ensure that the provisions in Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 were implemented with respect to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a committee to prepare a guideline document on the uniform framework of EPR was constituted.
Findings of the Committee
- The collection and segregation of household waste is the primary responsibility of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), and passing down of even a part of it to the producers would be ill-suited due to the involvement of numerous channels.
- The segregation of waste should be done at source to stimulate producers to put EPR into practise.
Recommendations of the Committee
- Depending on the production of plastics by the producers, importers, or brand owners, a suitable fee based system should be developed.
- A single model may not suffice for India, and thus for the implementation of overall framework under EPR, the following different models have been provided to producers of plastic products:
- Model 1 – Fee based model
- Model 2 – PRO based model and Plastic Credit Model
- Individual stakeholders in the plastic supply-chain were to be provided with a chance to execute their own plastic waste management project under EPR compliance.
Furthermore, plastic waste collection flows in any ULB through about five or six streams, which may take place in any fashion. The first stream is that of house-to-house collection, which may be either mixed waste or even better, segregated waste using the two-bin system. While the second is through selling of waste to kabadiwalas, the third and fourth stream is collection by rag pickers and road sweepers respectively. Another collection system is through dhalaos which are secondary collection points, and lastly, the stream through which industrial plastic waste eventually reaches the recycler.
Finally, the responsibility of monitoring the mechanism of the EPR rests with the Central Pollution Control Board, along with the duty of a biannual report submission to the Ministry.