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Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2024

  • Context (TH): Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified an amendment to the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, titled the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2024.
  • The amendments aim to enhance plastic waste management practices in the country.

Key Takeaways

Expanded Definitions

Producer

  • Producer now includes entities engaged in manufacturing plastic packaging, and includes a person engaged in manufacture of intermediate material to be used for manufacturing plastic packaging.
  • It is also the person engaged in contract manufacturing of products using plastic packaging or through other similar arrangements for a brand owner.
  • Earlier it was limited to people engaged in manufacturing of plastic packaging only.

Manufacturer

  • Manufacturer” means and includes a person engaged in production of plastic raw material, including compostable plastics and biodegradable plastics.
  • Earlier, Compostable and Biodegradable plastic were not included.
  • Biodegradable plastics are defined as materials capable of “degradation by biological processes in specific environment such as soil, landfill” without leaving “any microplastics.
  • Compostable plastics, on the other hand, do degrade, but require industrial or large municipal waste management facilities to do so.

Importer

  • It includes various plastic resins/ Pellets/ intermediate material used for manufacturing plastic packaging/films/ preforms for commercial use.
  • Earlier definition was only for plastic packaging/ carry bags or MLP.

Responsibility of Local Bodies

  • The local body shall undertake assessment of plastic waste generated, including plastic waste existing in dump sites, by 30th June of every year and also estimate the quantity of plastic waste to be generated in following five year period.
  • The local body shall take necessary measures to prevent stocking, distribution, sale and usage of prohibited single use plastic items in their jurisdiction.

Selling of Plastic Raw Materials

  • Manufacturer and Importer shall sell plastic raw material only to Producer or Seller registered under these rules and not sell plastic raw material to any entity or units engaged in manufacturing of prohibited single use plastic items.

Registration and Reporting Obligations for Manufacturers and Importers

  • Manufacturers and importers of plastic raw material are required to apply for registration with the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).
  • Additionally, they must submit quarterly and annual reports, as specified, by the respective deadlines (last day of month following the quarter and an annual report by 30th June of every year).

Introduction of Sellers

  • Sellers are defined as entities who sell plastic raw material such as resins or pellets or intermediate material used for producing plastic packaging.
  • Sellers are mandated to submit an annual report detailing transactions to the relevant pollution control authorities by June 30th each year.

Introduction of New Biodegradable Plastics Category (V)

  • A new category for biodegradable plastics (Category V) has been introduced, with specific labelling requirements and separate markings to be designated by the BIS.

Thickness Requirement Exemption for compostable/biodegradable Carry Bags

  • “Carry bags made of virgin or recycled plastic shall not be less than fifty microns in thickness,” while compostable/biodegradable carry bags are exempted from this requirement.
  • Microplastics are defined as any solid plastic particle insoluble in water, with dimensions between 1 µm and 1,000 µm (1 µm is one-thousandth of a millimetre).

Pre-consumer Waste Processing Obligations

  • Manufacturers are obligated to process pre-consumer plastic waste generated in the form of reject or discard material at the stage of manufacturing and report these activities to the SPCB/CPCB.

Minimum Recycling Target Introduction

  • Manufacturers/importers must meet minimum recycling levels for plastic packaging waste as specified in the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) targets.

EPR Plastic Waste minimum recycling target

Micro and Small Enterprise Exemption from EPR Obligations

  • Micro and small enterprises, as per the MSME Development Act, 2006, are exempted from direct EPR obligations.
  • These obligations are shifted to the manufacturer or importer of plastic raw materials supplying to such entities.
  • Target for the use of recycled plastic content are:

Mandatory use of recycled plastic content target - EPR Enviraj

Price Cap Implementation

  • The CPCB is tasked with establishing high and low price caps for EPR certificates, ensuring a standardized pricing mechanism.

Annual Filing Deadline Extension

  • The deadline for filing annual returns for the financial year 2022-2023 has been extended until March 31st, 2024.
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