Extended Producer Responsibility

Plastic has become an integral part of our daily life. We are more or less addicted to using plastic because of the benefits it offers , keeping aside the harmful effects of plastic on our health and environment. We can easily see plastic wastes littered all around in villages, towns, cities and at every corner around the world. Many steps have been taken by the Government for reducing, proper disposal and recycling of the single use plastic. One of which includes Extended Producer Responsibility.

The topic deals with the menace of plastic waste, how its leakage is destructing the environment. It identifies the reason for the spill over as lack of source segregation, sound collection and treatment systems. There is a comparison made on Plastic waste management systems of different countries and explains how developed countries perform better in tackling the issue.

A brief summary of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 sheds light on how the generators of waste have been mandated to take steps to minimize generation of plastic waste, not to litter the plastic waste, ensure segregated storage of waste at source and handover segregated waste to local bodies or agencies authorized by the local bodies.

The plastic waste collection is a laborious process and different streams of waste collection are well explained from house to house, rag picking to industrial plastic waste recyclers.

The author puts forward the concept of “Extended Producer Responsibility” where the producer is considered responsible for total recycling of plastic right from financial incentive to collection systems, processing facilities and recycling. The concept is further elaborated by explaining how the online registration process works, conditions, prerequisites and rules to be followed. The two types of models under EPR – the Fee based model, where producers using less quantity of plastic for packaging shall contribute to the EPR corpus fund at the central level and plastic credit model where a producer is not required to recycle their own packaging, but to ensure that an equivalent amount of packaging waste has been recovered and recycled has been explained in detail.

The producer responsibility organisations role has been defined and how it acts like an umbrella organisation for the producers. It is explained that the producers can join a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) as an alternative to taking complete operational responsibility for acquiring plastic credits, which holds registered producers liable for providing accurate information on plastic manufacturing and provides guidelines to be followed while executing Plastic waste management.There is a chapter on funding mechanisms underProducer responsible organisations where funds collected are indistinct and there is no commonly accepted methodology for sharing EPR program costs across the plastic packaging chain. It is understood that the specific percentage allocation is negotiated among the obligated companies, though it is generally accepted that brand owners and importers should accept a higher percentage of these costs given their dominant role in material selection and packaging design. 

The role of different stake holders are highlighted in the course. The contribution of National PRO advisory committee (under ministry of environment, forest and climate change) in providing guidance, funding and implementing the process of plastic waste recycling, Responsibility of manufacturers of plastic and companies using plastic for packing, Contribution of various Waste management agencies like NGO,CBOs and waste picker associations and collection agencies, rag pickers, Waste to energy converting plants and other such recyclers are touched upon in the course. The accountability of Local bodies and Central and State Pollution control board in waste collection services and formulating guidelines for plastic recycling are inferred in depth.

The need for creating awareness on waste segregation, formalization of unorganized sector of rag pickers and all waste collection model is well surmised in the course.

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