Government has introduced the concept of Extended Producer responsibility (EPR) by the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
As per the new rules, The producers, importers and brand owners who introduce the plastic carry bags, multi-layered plastic sachet, or pouches, or packaging in the market within a period of six months from the date of publication of these rules, need to establish a system for collecting back the plastic waste generated due to their products.
They shall work out modalities for waste collection system based on Extended Producers Responsibility and involving State Urban Development Departments, either individually or collectively, through their own distribution channel or through the local body concerned.
This plan of collection has to be submitted to the State Pollution Control Boards while applying for consent to Establish or Operate or Renewal.
The producers / brand owners whose consent has been renewed before the notification of these rules shall submit such plan within one year from the date of notification of these rules and implement within two years thereafter.
Extended Producer Responsibility (as per OECD):
Extended Producer Responsibility is a concept where manufacturers and importers of products should bear a significant degree of responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products throughout the product life-cycle, including upstream impacts inherent in the selection of materials for the products, impacts from manufacturers’ production process itself, and downstream impacts from the use and disposal of the products. Producers accept their responsibility when designing their products to minimise life-cycle environmental impacts, and when accepting legal, physical or socio-economic responsibility for environmental impacts that cannot be eliminated by design.
EPR involves a Closed Loop approach to materials management, whereby product waste is recovered when the consumer discards it and is reused as a raw material to produce a new product or packaging material, consuming considerably less energy than it takes to manufacture from scratch. This approach replaces traditional linear thinking and is based on the concept that manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and the consumer all share in end-of-life product management.
It is being followed by most of the major economies like China, Australia, US, Japan etc which have helped them in reducing waste generation and thus promoting a green economy.
Benefits of EPR:
It promotes the culture of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle which helps with the conservation of environment and promoting a Swacchh Bharat.
This will help in the reduction of burden of disease on Indian population.
The shifting of responsibility (physically and/or economically; fully or partially) upstream toward the producer and away from municipalities; and
The provision of incentives to producers to take into account environmental considerations when designing their products.
It helps in creation of employment opportunities through start ups like Reddington India and Stewardship Ontario who help corporates in fulfilling their EPR responsibilities.