Mandatory EPR Registration Rules for Plastic Waste Management: Targets & Compliances

Mandatory EPR Registration Rules for Plastic Waste Management: Targets & Compliances

EPR Registration for Plastic Waste Management Rules in India - Guide

Plastic is one of the most used products in our everyday life because of its properties. Interestingly, its same properties have made it one of the most hazardous substances for the environment. The government has laid down explicit legislation to minimize plastic pollution. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) India is one such initiative that aims to place responsibility on certain stakeholders for the proper disposal of plastic waste. 

The government issued a notification making certain amendments to the existing plastic waste management rules. A new Schedule II was inserted through this amendment specifying guidelines on EPR for plastic packaging. Let’s understand the requirements in detail.

EPR For Plastic Waste – Key Highlights

Following are some of the key highlights pertaining to EPR rules for plastic waste:

1.) Applicability of EPR Rules for Plastic Waste

The provisions relating to EPR for plastic waste management shall cover the following persons:

  1. P = Producer of plastic packaging
  2. I = Importer of plastic packaging 
  3. BO = Brand Owners other than micro and small enterprises
  4. Plastic waste processors

Further, plastic packaging commodities have been divided into 4 different categories. This include:

  1. Category-I: Rigid plastic packaging
  2. Category-II: Flexible plastic packaging of single or multi-layer plastic sheets, covers, and the likes
  3. Category-III: Multi-layered plastic packaging
  4. Category-IV: Plastic sheet and similar material used for packaging purposes as well as carry bags made of compostable plastics.

Here, you need to understand certain terminologies before proceeding further:

  • Importer: Importer means a person who imports any of the following things:
  1. Plastic packaging products
  2. Products with plastic packaging
  3. Carry bags
  4. Multi-layered packaging
  5. Plastic sheets
  6. Items similar to the above
  • Plastic Packaging: It refers to the packaging material made by using plastics for preserving, protecting, transporting, and storing products in a variety of ways.
  • Producer: It refers to a person engaged in the manufacture or import of carry bags or multilayered packaging or plastic sheets or like, and includes industries or individuals using plastic sheets or like or covers made of plastic sheets or multilayered packaging for packaging or wrapping the commodity.

2.) EPR Registration for Plastic Waste

The following entities are required to obtain EPR registration in India for plastic waste management with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) through a centralized portal:

  1. Producer
  2. Importer
  3. Brand Owner
  4. The plastic waste processor who is engaged in
  • Recycling
  • Waste to Energy
  • Waste to oil
  • Industrial composting

These entities shall not be allowed to conduct business without obtaining EPR registration in India. After obtaining registration in a particular year, these entities will need to fulfill EPR target obligations from the next year. If an entity gets covered under more than one category above, then it shall obtain registration separately under each of the categories above.

3.) Targets & Obligations for EPR Plastic Waste

The guidelines lay down targets for Extended Producer Responsibility for plastic waste that needs to be fulfilled by the Producers, Importers, and Brand Owners. Further, it also specifies the obligation for a minimum level of recycling that needs to be ensured by them. This includes the following:

Extended Producer Responsibility Targets
 

Year

Extended Producer Responsibility Target (in %)

I

2021-22

30%

II

2022-23

70%

III

2023-24

100%

 
The minimum level of recycling of plastic packaging waste (excluding end-of-life disposal)

Plastic Packaging Category

% of Extended Producer Responsibility Target

2024-25

2025-26

2026-27

2027-28 and onwards

Category I

50%

60%

70%

80%

Category II

30%

40%

50%

60%

Category III

30%

40%

50%

60%

Category IV

50%

60%

70%

80%

4.) End-of-Life Disposal

End-of-life disposal shall be applicable only to those categories of plastic that cannot be recycled. This includes road construction, waste to oil, waste to energy, cement kilns, etc. End-of-life disposal should be done as per the methodologies specified in the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.

5.) Surplus EPR Certificates – Purchase, Sale, and Off-setting

If a brand owner has fulfilled the Extended Producer Responsibility Targets, then he can use the surplus certificates for the following purposes:

  • Off-setting the previous year’s shortfall
  • Carry forward for setting off in succeeding years
  • Selling it to other producers, importers, and brand owners

However, the surplus in one category of plastic can be used for set-off, sale, or carry forward in the same category only. Further, the following things should be kept in mind in relation to surplus certificates:

  • Surplus under reuse can be used against reuse, end-of-life disposal, and recycling
  • Surplus under recycling can be used against recycling and end-of-life disposal 
  • Surplus under end-of-life disposal cannot be used for recycling or reuse

The producers, importers, and brand owners can purchase surplus Extended Producer Responsibility Certificates from other producers, importers, and brand owners to meet their Extended Producer Responsibility obligations for plastic waste under any category. These transactions must be recorded and submitted by them by filing annual returns as per the EPR framework. 

6.) Environmental Compensation

As stated earlier, the registered entities are required to fulfill the EPR target obligations. In case of its non-fulfillment, they will need to pay environmental compensation. As per the current guidelines, the CPCB shall levy environmental compensation on producers, importers, and brand owners operating in 2 or more states. Whereas SPCB shall be responsible for levying environmental compensation in their respective states. 

However, payment of environmental compensation does not absolve these registered entities from fulfilling their obligations. The unfulfilled obligations shall be carried forward to the next year up to a period of 3 years. A refund mechanism has been placed whereby the environmental compensation shall be returned as follows if the obligations are fulfilled within those 3 years:

No. of years within which obligations are fulfilled after levy of environmental compensation

% of environmental compensation that will be returned

1 year

75%

2 years

60%

3 years

40%

After 3 years, the entire environmental compensation shall be forfeited if the obligations still remain unfulfilled. 

In a Nutshell

The government is taking active steps to reduce plastic pollution to the maximum. By placing strict guidelines, it becomes important for the producers, importers, and brand owners to ensure proper EPR registration and compliance in India to avoid penal consequences. From the above, it can be inferred that the EPR for plastic waste is applicable and mandatory to procure for the below type of entities:

  1. Companies who are directly dealing with plastic packaging materials;
  2. Companies whose product line is different but they are using plastic packaging material to pack or protect their products.
  3. Companies that are directly importing materials that are made of plastic like BOPP, HDPE, LDPE, PP, etc.

Further, the compliance mechanism increases transparency in the process with everything getting centralized. In case you need any assistance in relation to the EPR registration for plastic waste or EPR compliances in India, feel free to contact the ASC Group. 

 

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