Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (“MoEFCC”) notified Plastic Waste Management Rules in 2016 (“Rules”) for effective and improved collection, segregation, processing, treatment and disposal of the plastic waste in an environmentally sound manner thereby reducing the plastic waste generation and its impact on the environment.
Thereafter, in line with Union Government’s intent to phase out the single use plastic by 2022, various States / Union Territories (“UTs”) had imposed partial or complete ban on use of plastic bags and / or single use plastic items. However, considering the high environmental costs associated with management of single-use plastics and to supplement the initiative undertaken by States/UTs, MoEFCC has released draft amendments to Rules on 11th March, 2021 inter alia proposing prohibition on the manufacture, use, sale, import and handling of some of the single-use plastic items on a pan India basis. The draft is open for public comments for 60 days for consideration by the central government.
The proposed amendments to the Rules are mentioned below:
Although specific aspects like registration, responsibility for collection of plastic material, etc. were applicable on processors and brand owners (respectively) previously also, this amendment has brought them generally within scope of the Rules.
The increased thickness of these bags seem to be intended to substantially improve collection and recycling of used carry bags. However, it does not specify the thickness requirements for such bags upto 30.09.2021.
The shorter timeline for these products seem to be driven by relatively easier availability of their sustainable alternatives.
The additional timeline for these products seem to be intended to provide extra time for relevant persons to arrange for their sustainable alternatives.
The campaign against single use plastics has been on for the last few years with the Union Government voluntarily pledging to phase it out by 2022 and different states / UTs coming up with separate set of rules to deal with it. Through this draft, MoEFCC intends to make the laws more effective and uniform across the country. However, the requirement for industries to comply with multiple state-specific compliance requirements still needs to be clarified.
Considering the challenges faced by the industries in the past, there is a need to find sustainable and economically viable alternatives for such plastic. More importantly, there is a need to develop suitable infrastructure including adequate collection and recycling centres to complete the last loop for a circular economy. It is pertinent that the industries like MSMEs and sectors like FMCG etc. that would be most affected by such regulations are adequately consulted before such laws are brought into effect so that the potential impact of such regulations are suitably assessed.
This article was originally published in Mondaq on 06 April 2021 Co-written by: Nawneet Vibhaw, Partner; Himanshu Pabreja, Associate. Click here for original article
Contributed by: Nawneet Vibhaw, Partner; Himanshu Pabreja, Associate
This is intended for general information purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the firm.
The Bar Council of India does not permit solicitation of work and advertising by legal practitioners and advocates. By accessing the Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. website (our website), the user acknowledges that: