Plastic waste management rules and regulations 2022

Plastic waste management in India – An Overview

India will generate more than 3.6 million tonnes of plastic waste by 2022, with only 50% of the plastic waste being recycled using proper channelization methods. The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and climate change has stated that only 1,419 plastic waste processing and recycling units are registered per the norms and regulations of the plastic waste management council. 

To streamline the plastic waste collection and processing methodology, the union of environment assembly has issued the second amendment rules, 2022. Also, the council has effectively banned single-use plastic from July 1. Furthermore, to improve the plastic recycling process and make it easier for the PWP (Plastic waste processors), the council mandated the system of increasing the thickness of the plastic bags & covers to over 120 microns.

The problem of plastic pollution is a global one, and experts believe that plastics are here to stay. Plastic can be made from various materials, including fossil fuels, making it a highly versatile and potentially toxic material. But the vast majority of plastic waste is not recycled but ends up in landfills or the environment, where it causes harm to biodiversity and ecosystems.

PWM rules & regulations for plastic packaging 

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has announced the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022. This notification amends the 2016 rules that mandated single-use plastics to be eliminated within five years. The extension of producer responsibility also includes appealing to consumers and the government to take more responsibility for their plastic usage when governing single-use plastics.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for plastic packaging is a manufacturing process where all stages, from raw material to final product, are subject to responsibility and accountability. The Extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme will ensure that each life stage of plastic products includes recycling, reuse and safe disposal.

Plastic waste generation has increased over the years, with most dumped plastic being processed into unrecyclable forms. To minimize plastic waste generation and manage this industrial activity responsibly, PWM mandates the generators of plastic waste to take steps to reduce the generation of plastic waste, prevent littering of plastic waste, and ensure segregated waste storage at source, among other measures.

Check out the rules & regulations of plastic packaging waste below, 

The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 were amended to accelerate the elimination of disposable plastics and to promote alternatives. With this amendment, the Environment Department has set out new provisions and provided additional clarity about whether or not Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, apply to your brand or products. 

The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change has announced Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022, notifying instructions for extended producer responsibility (EPR) of plastic packaging. The Union environment ministry has issued the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022, taking into account the phase-out of some disposable plastic products starting from July 1 and a directive on increasing the thickness of plastic carry bags beyond 120 microns from December 31.

Certain single-use plastics like hard packing, one-layered and multi-layered flexible packing, and carry bags would come under the Ministry’s guidelines for enhanced producer responsibility in plastic packaging, issued on February 16. 

The Rules for the Treatment and Management of Waste from Plastics, 2011, set out specific conditions for manufacturing, stocking, selling, and using plastic carry bags and pouches that must be monitored and implemented by state pollution control boards/ municipal authorities.

 At the same time, the guidelines required users and other parties concerned with plastics, such as manufacturers, sales companies, retail supermarkets, and restaurants, to take severe steps in implementing separate policies and measures to curb the contamination caused by plastics across the country, as well as in labeling and sourcing products accordingly, and strengthen the management of the marking. In addition, the regulations define biodegradable plastic and set out the legal framework to make it available as an alternative material. 

Need for a centralized system to manage plastic waste? 

How centralized management programs help companies manage waste more efficiently. 

There are a lot of challenges involved in managing a multi-location waste program, which requires both a national or system-wide perspective and a site-level or local perspective. While every business is different, the most successful waste and recycling programs for multi-location operations are managed at a central location, with clear communications flowing to every site. 

Variations in the site layout significantly affect the waste and recycling operations of each site and the equipment used. These call for the deployment and optimization of waste management infrastructure and a circular system capable of managing waste and reusing it when feasible. Managing a spike in debris will present a massive challenge to governments, and more so in many developing countries. Integrating new, sustainable technologies into current waste management systems will envision a future where all plastic is reused or recycled.

Due to these factors, the availability of high-quality, sorted plastic is limited in emerging markets, with recyclers generally having to establish their collections and sorting systems and paying higher prices for waste (compared with many developed countries, where waste producers have to pay to be recycled). 

Centralized stations also improve recycling rates, which could contribute to meeting our 2030 net zero waste goals. Centralized waste and recycling stations would be added in shared-use spaces and high-traffic areas, with individuals tasked with sorting their trash and recycling in these bins.

Citizens’ responsibility in carrying out the plastic waste management

Without robust primary waste systems, plastic will likely continue to get dumped uncollected, citizens and businesses are unlikely to follow restrictions on materials used in food or manufacturing, and recycling costs will remain an issue in the waste systems. Therefore, we must understand urbanization and the challenges to waste management and mainly focus on what citizens can do here. 

Effective plastic waste management is the only way that we will lay a basis for a sustainable future, that is, a sustainable waste management system that includes the involvement of all citizens. This wide-ranging agreement, spanning political and geographic lines, shows that we not only need to reform our waste management systems, but we also need to overhaul how we manufacture plastic.

Policy solutions, increased awareness, and better designs and disposal processes, among others, could all reduce plastics’ footprint on society. Consumers are aware that plastic pollution is one of the main challenges facing our environment, yet they are usually not in a stable position to reduce their dependence on waste. Unfortunately, more than a

quarter of all waste is dumped in public, and many official disposal sites are not adequately managed, leading to increased plastic litter. According to US EPA reports using the Material Cycle Methodology, plastic waste is treated through disposal (75.4%), incineration (15.3%), and recycling (9.3%). 

Responsibility & purpose of PWM rules implementation

A panel appointed by CPCB, headed by the CPCB president, would recommend recommendations for implementing the EPR, including changes in guidelines on extended producer responsibility (EPR). 

State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) or Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) are tasked with providing annual reports to the CPCB about implementing EPR portals by manufacturers, importers, brand owners, and processors of plastic wastes within their respective states/union territories. 

It facilitates innovative breakthroughs into plastic alternatives, thus enabling businesses to escape from non-sustainable plastic packaging. The guidelines are intended to enhance a circular economy for waste from plastic packaging. 

The Bottom line

CercleX works aggressively with local, state, and other federal partners to organize cleanups and education products and programs that help educate visitors about the environmental impacts of plastic pollution and marine debris, as well as how individual selections and actions can have a positive effect. 

In short, by creating an unimpeded channel for information sharing among all stakeholders, including citizens, we are raising awareness and making it easier to take the first steps toward trash management in real-time across India.