The Environment Ministry has proposed guidelines that will require plastic packaging material companies to collect all of their product by 2024 and ensure that a minimum percentage of it is recycled and reused in following supplies.
It also established a mechanism for producers and users of plastic packaging to collect and trade certificates known as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates.
The notification is set to take effect on December and is currently open for public comment.
Only a small percentage of plastic that cannot be recycled — such as multi-layered multi-material plastics — will be eligible for end-of-life disposal in places like road construction, waste to energy, waste to oil, and cement kilns, and only methods approved by the Central Pollution Control Board will be allowed.
According to the standards, which were made public in October, there are three types of plastic packaging: The first is "rigid" plastic; the second is "flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags (including carry bags made of compostable plastics), plastic sachets or pouches; and the third is "multi-layered plastic packaging," which includes at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic.
Producers of plastic will be required to report how much plastic they generate annually to the government via a centralised website. Companies will be required to collect at least 35% of the target in 2021-22, 70% in 2022-23, and 100% in 2024.
By 2024, they must recycle at least 50% of their hard plastic (category 1), as well as 30% of their category 2 and 3 plastic. Every year, the standards will get higher, until by 2026-27, 80 percent of category 1 and 60 percent of the other two categories must be recycled.