Government announces plastic waste recycling targets

  • IASbaba
  • October 17, 2021
  • 0
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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.

Key takeaways 

  • 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. 
  • 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.

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