Government announces plastic waste recycling targets
Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Pollution
Context The Environment Ministry has issued draft rules that mandate producers of plastic packaging material to collect all of their produce by 2024
- The producers have to ensure that a minimum percentage of it be recycled as well as used in subsequent supply.
- It has also specified a system whereby makers and users of plastic packaging could collect certificates — called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates — and trade in them.
- Only a fraction of plastic that cannot be recycled would be eligible to be sent for end-of-life disposal such as road construction, waste to energy, waste to oil and cement kilns.
- Only methods prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) would be permitted for their disposal.
- Producers of plastic would be obliged to declare to the government, via a centralised website, how much plastic they produce annually.
- Companies would have to collect at least 35% of the target in 2021-22, 70% by 2022-23 and 100% by 2024.
- If entities cannot fulfil their obligations, they would on a “case by case basis” be permitted to buy certificates making up for their shortfall from organisations that have used recycled content in excess of their obligation.
- The CPCB would develop a “mechanism” for such exchanges on an online portal.
- Non-compliance would not invite a traditional fine. Instead an “environmental compensation” would be levied.
Categories of Plastic packaging
- Plastic packaging shall fall into three categories.
- The first category is “rigid” plastic;
- Category 2 is “flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer, plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags, plastic sachet or pouches;
- The third category is called multilayered plastic packaging, which has at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic.
- In 2024, a minimum 50% of their rigid plastic (category 1) would have to be recycled as would 30% of their category 2 and 3 plastic.
- Every year would see progressively higher targets and after 2026-27, 80% of their category 1 and 60% of the other two categories would need to be recycled.