The Central Government on July 6, 2022 further amended the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 (“Rules”) vide notification of the Plastic Waste Management (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022 (“Second Amendment Rules”).
Earlier this year, in February, the Central Government had amended these Rules vide notification of the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022 (“First Amendment Rules”), whereby, Rule 9(1) (Responsibility of producers, Importers and Brand Owners) of the Rules was amended to introduce certain guidelines in Schedule II of the Rules for extended producer responsibility for plastic packaging, i.e., the responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life (“Extended Producer Responsibility”). To summarise, the Rules cast Extended Producer Responsibility on Producer, Importer, and Brand Owner, i.e., it is applicable to both pre-consumer and post-consumer plastic packaging waste. The changes introduced vide these First Amendment Rules provide for:
Coming to the Second Amendment Rules, the said amendment has been notified and shall come into force with immediate effect.
1. Amendment to the protocols for compostable and biodegradable plastic materials plastic materials in Rule 10
1.1. The ambit of Rule 10 has been widened to include biodegradable plastic materials, along-with compostable plastic material. The construct of ‘biodegradable plastics’ has been introduced in the Second Amendment Rules to distinguish it from ‘compostable plastics’ based on its respective degradation process.
“compostable plastics” mean plastic that undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting, excluding conventional petro-based plastics, and does not leave visible, distinguishable or toxic residue
“biodegradable plastics” means plastics, other than compostable plastics, which undergoes degradation by biological processes under ambient environment (terrestrial or in water) conditions, without leaving any micro plastics, or visible, or distinguishable or toxic residue, which has adverse environment impacts, adhering to laid down standards of Bureau of Indian Standards and certified by the Central Pollution Control Board
1.2. Due to the differences in the degradation process, while the compostable plastic materials must conform to the IS/ ISO 17088:2021, the biodegradable plastics are required to conform to the standard notified by the Bureau of Indian Standards and certified by the Central Pollution Control Board. Until the said standard is notified by the Bureau of Indian Standards, biodegradable plastics must conform to tentative Indian Standard IS 17899 T:2022 as notified by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
2. Amendment to the entity responsible for information to be provided on each plastic carry bag, plastic packaging, and multi-layered packaging in Rule 11
Pursuant to the Second Amendment Rules, the responsibility for providing information on each plastic carry bag, plastic packaging and multi-layered packaging lies with the producer or brand owner (and in case of imported carry bags or multi-layered packaging or plastic packaging, then with the importer as well), instead of the manufacturer.
3. Amendment to the terms for registration of producer, recyclers and manufacturer in Rule 13
Pursuant to the Second Amendment Rules, the registration shall be subject to fulfilment of obligations in accordance with the guidelines on Extended Producer Responsibility for Plastic Packaging specified in Schedule II.
4. Introduction of the Environmental Compensation in Rule 18
The environmental compensation which was introduced as a concept in the First Amendment Rules in the guidelines for Extended Producer Responsibility in Schedule II (“Environmental Compensation”), has now been included as rule which provides that the Environmental Compensation will be levied based upon polluter pays principle, on persons who are not complying with the provisions of these Rules, as per guidelines notified by the Central Pollution Control Board.
Contributed by Namitha Mathews (Partner) and Anukriti Goswami (Associate).
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