Taking Ownership:

Extended Producer Responsibility for a Greener Future

Arshi Saxena
Arshi Saxena

Published on: Apr 10, 2024

Vani Vyas
Vani Vyas

Updated on: Apr 10, 2024

(21 Ratings)
1617

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy that aims to make manufacturers responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products, including post-consumer waste management.

Meaning

EPR shifts the burden of waste management from local authorities to producers, encouraging them to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their products. It emphasizes on the concept of “polluter pays,” where manufacturers are obligated to manage their products throughout their life cycle, from production to disposal.

Key components of the mandatory EPR rules in India

Manufactures categorize products for environmental impact, guided responsibility and waste management

Imported goods follow EPR rules, complying with domestic obligations to prevent responsibility evasion by foreign entities

Mandatory systems retrieve products for disposal or recycling after consumer use

Manufacturers invest in recycling infrastructure for extended responsibilities

Producers set recycling targets to reduce post-consumer waste

Producers fund EPR initiatives for proper disposal and recycling

Rules emphasize public awareness and mandate crucial compliance reporting for accountability & improvement

Obligations of Producers, Importers, and Brand Owners (PIBO)

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change in India has been instrumental in formulating guidelines for EPR implementation. These guidelines outline the responsibilities of Producers(P), Importer(I), and Brand Owners (BO). EPR registration is the initial step towards compliance with EPR legislation for importers, producers, and brand owners. Before producing or importing goods that are subject to EPR, businesses must register with the appropriate regulatory organizations. Specific details on the items, the expected volume of waste generated, and the recommended waste management plan must be included throughout the registration process. By registering them, the government is able to monitor each entity’s accountability and ensure that the regulations are followed.

PRODUCER

Producers, makers, and those in charge of product branding are primarily accountable under EPR. They must use environmentally friendly materials, produce less trash, and design their products with recycling in mind. In addition to working with recycling facilities and developing efficient waste collection systems, producers also need to make sure that their products are disposed of responsibly when their intended uses come to an end.

IMPORTER

Importers’ goods into the country are subject to EPR regulations. It is their responsibility to register with the relevant governing bodies, provide the necessary details about the imported goods, and adhere to waste management protocols. Importers are subject to the same reporting requirements as producers with regard to recycling targets and waste management activities.

BRAND OWNER

EPR also applies to brand owners who merely add their name to items rather tproducing them themselves. Working with importers and manufacturers, they must satisfy their joint EPR requirements. It is the responsibility of brand owners to ensure that their products have a sustainable end-of-life management plan and are recyclable.

EPR Guidelines Under Various Regulations

Plastic Waste Management Rules (PWMR)

Non- Biodegradable plastic is harmful for the environment; consequently, the producers must proactively manage and promote recycling per EPR requirements. Key elements in plastic EPR include:

  • Producers manage plastic waste through collection systems or partnerships with waste organizations.
  • Producers financially support organizations for infrastructure, awareness, and streamlined plastic recycling

E-Waste (Management) Rules (EWMR)

E-Waste Rules instruct on proper electronic trash handling in India. Primary obligation of the producers of electronic items are:

  • Producers establish or support e- waste collection centers for approved recyclers.
  • Producers submit an EPR strategy outlining e-waste management, covering collection, transportation, recycling, and awareness.
  • Producers obtain SPCB authorizations, follow rules, and ensure environmentally friendly e-waste recycling

Battery Waste Management Rules

EPR guidelines for batteries prioritize safe disposal and recycling of the batteries, enlisting the following as obligations:

  • Battery producers manage safe disposal/recycling, facilitating customer returns.
  • Submit EPR plan detailing battery management while meeting recycling goals.
  • Regulations mandate collection centers/ partnership for disposal
  • Run consumer education campaign on proper battery disposal/ recycling

Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Amendment Rules, 2022

Tyre waste, notable for its size and durability, requires proper handling and disposal. EPR recommendation under the Rules, guide in managing tyre waste responsibly. Following are the basic pre requisites:

  • Tyre producers manage waste responsibly, reporting yearly adjustments and establishing collection facilities for worn tyres.
  • Manufacturers register, provide reports on tyre waste, including quarterly data on responsibility certificates, new tyre details, and quantities
  • Regulations promote eco-friendly tyre recycling through methods like retreading or material recovery.
  • Recyclers report on materials, finished goods, and EPR certificates. Waste tyre importers adjust responsibility based on waste percentage.

Process For Obtaining EPR Authorization

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India streamlined the EPR implementation by introducing the ‘Guidelines on Extended Producer Responsibility for Plastic Packaging’ on February 16, 2022. These guidelines require Producers, Importers, and Brand Owners (PIBOs) and Plastic Waste Processor (PWPs) to register via a CPCB portal.This authorization places the onus of proper waste handling on the holder, allowing them to apply for an EPR license in India.

PIBOs active in one or two states/UTs must register with their respective State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB/PCC). Those operating across more than two states/UTs are mandated to register with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Online Application
  • Prepare Documents: Ensure all relevant documents are ready in digital format.
  • Self-Registration: Create an account on the EPR portal to start the application.
  • Application Submission: Log in, fill out the application, and upload documents.
  • Fee Payment: Pay the registration fee online.
  • Application Review: Applications are reviewed by CPCB or respective SPCBs/PCCs.
  • EPR Issuance: Successful applications receive EPR registration within 15 days.
Documents Required
  • Address and GST proofs
  • Company registration or Import-Export code
  • Copies of agreement document with dealers, collection centers, dismantlers, recyclers, treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) etc.
  • RoHS compliance declaration.
  • Technical documentation of products
Documents Required
  • Address and GST proofs
  • Company registration or Import-Export code
  • Copies of agreement document with dealers, collection centers, dismantlers, recyclers, treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) etc.
  • RoHS compliance declaration.
  • Technical documentation of products
  • Copy of the permissions/licenses from the relevant ministry/department for marketing various products or for doing the business including, TIN details, PAN details, Incorporation certificate, Copy IEC in case of importers
  • Copy of authorization issued by the SPCBs/PCCs
  • EPR plan and related documents
Fees Plastic waste Generation (Tonnes Per Annum)
  • <1000
  • 1000-10000
  • >10000
Fee
  • 10000
  • 20000
  • 50000
Validity Registration shall be valid for 5 years
Renewal
  • PIBO shall submit the renewal application, along with the required documents, four months before the expiry of the Registration
  • A renewed registration shall be valid for three years
  • Renewal fees shall be the same as the initial registration fee of EPR

Conclusion

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in India marks a pivotal shift in environmental governance, transferring the onus of product lifecycle management from public entities to manufacturers. This incentivizes the creation of recyclable and durable products, propelling India towards a circular economy that emphasizes sustainable practices. The efficacy of EPR, however, relies on the seamless execution of policies, the establishment of a solid waste management infrastructure, and the collaborative efforts of all parties involved. Addressing hurdles like public awareness and recycling capabilities is essential for maximizing EPR’s environmental impact. In essence, EPR is integral to India’s journey towards ecological sustainability, requiring concerted efforts from manufacturers, consumers, and the government to overcome existing obstacles and ensure its successful implementation.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The content of this article is not intended to create and receipt of it does not constitute any relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.

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