Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)  is an environmental policy approach that extends a producer’s responsibility, both physical and financial, for their products to the post-consumer stage of their life cycle. This concept aims to shift the responsibility upstream towards the producer and away from municipalities, which previously managed the waste generated by their products. EPR provides incentives to producers to include environmental considerations in their product design, such as reducing material consumption, using more secondary materials, and promoting product eco-design. By doing so, the producers can minimize the environmental impact of their products and reduce the burden on the waste management system. The implementation of EPR has become a crucial tool for sustainable waste management practices globally, helping to reduce waste generation and support the shift towards a circular economy.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) (Global approach)

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a strategy used worldwide to manage waste and reduce environmental impacts. Different tools are used to implement this strategy, which can be classified into four categories: administrative, economic, informative, and agreements. Administrative tools include collection and/or take-back programs, recycling and reuse targets, emission limits, recovery obligations, and standards. Economic tools involve material/product taxes (such as “pay as you throw”), subsidies, advanced disposal fee systems, deposit-refund systems, upstream tax/subsidy, and recycler/producer credits. Informative tools consist of environmental reports/labelling, information provision to recyclers, and consultation with authorities about the collection network. Finally, agreements can be used in the form of social contracts or gentlemen’s agreements to ensure compliance with EPR objectives. The effectiveness of these tools can vary depending on the specific waste management system, but their use is critical in achieving sustainable waste management practices globally.

EPR under Plastic Waste Management Rules

The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Guidelines for Plastic Packaging were included in Schedule-II of the 4th amendment of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2018 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in February 2022. The EPR Guidelines were further amended in July 2022 to provide clarity on the obligations of various entities involved in plastic packaging and waste management. The Guidelines require producers, importers, and brand owners of certain plastic products to manage the waste generated by their products, from collection to disposal, and promote sustainable practices. The EPR framework aims to reduce the burden of plastic waste management on municipalities and local governments by incentivizing producers to reduce their use of plastic and promote sustainable alternatives.

The EPR Guidelines are an important step towards sustainable plastic waste management in India. By making producers responsible for the waste generated by their products, the Guidelines incentivize producers to adopt sustainable practices and reduce their use of plastic. This not only reduces the amount of plastic waste generated but also promotes the adoption of sustainable alternatives. The EPR framework is part of a larger set of environmental regulations and policies in India aimed at reducing plastic waste and promoting sustainable practices. READ MORE

EPR under E-waste Management Rules

The E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2022, will be enacted from 1st April 2023 to regulate the disposal, recycling, and management of e-waste. These rules will apply to every manufacturer, producer, refurbisher, dismantler, and recycler involved in the production, sale, transfer, purchase, refurbishment, dismantling, recycling, and processing of e-waste, including components, consumables, parts, and spares that make the product operational. The rules do not apply to waste batteries covered under the Battery Waste Management Rules, packaging plastics covered under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, micro-enterprises defined in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006, and radioactive wastes covered under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.

One of the key provisions of the rules is the extended producer responsibility, which makes it mandatory for every producer of electrical or electronic equipment listed in Schedule-I to meet recycling targets specified in Schedule-III and Schedule-IV through registered recyclers of e-waste. The rules aim to ensure that e-waste is managed in an environmentally sound manner, protecting health and the environment from adverse effects resulting from e-waste.

The rules also specify the responsibilities of bulk consumers, who are required to ensure that their e-waste is collected and disposed of through authorized mechanisms. The rules mandate producers to file an annual report on e-waste generated, collected, and recycled through the portal.

In conclusion, the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2022, are a significant step towards managing e-waste in an environmentally sound manner. These rules aim to ensure that e-waste is recycled, and the resources used in the production of electrical and electronic equipment are conserved. These rules provide clarity on the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders and mandate producers to take responsibility for the e-waste generated by their products. The implementation of these rules will go a long way in mitigating the adverse effects of e-waste on health and the environment.  READ MORE

EPR under Battery Waste Management Rules

The Indian government has introduced the Battery Waste Management Rules in 2022 to replace the 2001 Battery Management and Handling Rules to manage the increasing amount of battery waste in India. The 2022 rules apply to all types of batteries, with extended producer responsibility (EPR) being the main highlight. Producers will have to file for authorization through the centralized online portal of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and fulfill their EPR responsibility through the policy of buyback, deposit refund schemes or any other model. The EPR plan, which contains details of the weight, quantity, and other information about the batteries, should be submitted by the producers to CPCB in Form 1C by 30th June of every year through the centralized online portal. Failure to comply with EPR responsibilities can result in penalties for stakeholders such as manufacturers, recyclers, and refurbishers, among others, and penalties for non-compliance with EPR responsibilities are specified under Section 15 of the Environmental Protection Act of 1986. The rules expand the responsibilities of the producers, manufacturers, and authorities involved in the management of waste batteries, with the key stakeholders being producers, recyclers, refurbishers, other entities, and the CPCB. By complying with EPR regulations, producers can contribute to creating a sustainable future while avoiding penalties and negative impacts. READ MORE