Draft Gazette Notification on EPR Rules October 2021

The latest Draft Gazette notification on EPR rules by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) was released on 6th October 2021.

The Draft has brought in new/changes in the following specific areas:

  • Applicability of the EPR Rules
  • Registration procedures
  • Targets
  • Obligations w.r.t plastic packaging
    • Reuse
    • Recycle
    • Use of Recycled Content
    • End of Life Disposal
  • Plastic Credits Trading
  • Filing of Annual Returns
  • Environmental Compensation
  • Audits by CPCB

The Key Takeaways from the draft framework is that the Ministry has accelerated their efforts to bring in a circular economy to the forefront. The introduction of ‘Reuse’ and ‘obligatory use of Recycled Content’ are few of the instances where this stands true. Apart from the above, the MoEFCC has widened the scope of PIBOs in regards to their EPR targets.

In a new development, First, the notification introduces concepts of plastic credits and trading, which will enable entities to fulfil their targets through monetary transactions, when there is deficient waste management. 

Second, Environmental compensation – it is a form of collateral used by CPCB when PIBOs fail to meet their EPR targets for that particular year. To explain it further, PIBOs are required to complete their targets within the next 3 years and can get a refund on their compensation paid. 

Third, The CPCB has greatly emphasised on the use of the online portal for filings, trade of EPR certificates and more. With an attempt to streamline the fragmented waste management ecosystem, the online portal along with a detailed explanation of the procedures will revolutionise the way PIBOs are held accountable for their EPR targets. It should be noted that until the online portal is developed, all fillings will be done offline

Fourth, To create a holistic compliance system, the draft calls for regular inspections and audits either by CPCB or a designated agency. This clause helps keep track of the material claimed to be processed. 

Fifth, The EPR targets are similar to Producers, Importers and Brand Owners. With one additional obligation for Brand Owners – they are responsible for reusing rigid plastic in their packaging. 

Finally, The draft explicitly defines:

  • Categories of waste being handled
  • The EPR targets for PIBOs
  • Roles of PIBOs, Waste Processors, CPCB, and SPCB/PCCs

Below are the key brief points from the draft guidelines.

Applicability of the Rules

4. Obligated Entities

List of entities that come under the EPR purview:

  • Producer of Plastic Packaging
  • Importer
  • Brand Owners which include online marketplaces
  • Plastic Waste Processors

5. Coverage of EPR 

Compared to earlier EPR rules, this draft defines the categories and delineates the types of actions to be taken with the plastic packaging.

(5.1) The following plastic packaging categories are covered under EPR: 

  • Category I Rigid plastic packaging 
  • Category II Flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets or covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags (including carry bags made of compostable plastics), plastic sachet or pouches and 
  • Category III Multi Layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic) 

(5.2) The EPR regulation covers the following with respect to plastic packaging:

I. Reuse 

II. Recycling 

III. Use of recycled plastic content 

IV. End of life disposal

7. Applicability of Targets for Extended Producer Responsibility and Obligations of PIBOs

(7.5) EPR targets to be submitted on the online portal of CPCB, by PIBOs as a part of the State-wise Action Plan 

(7.6) 

  • A 25% deviation in ERP targets is allowed from 2021-22 to 2023-24.
  • Overall annual EPR targets must be met, category wise, by obligated entities. 

(7.7) Obligations of  reuse, recycling of waste and use of recycled plastic content in packaging shall be reviewed every five years 

(7.8) EPR Targets do not apply to plastic packaging which is 100% biodegradable in the environment.

Registration procedures

6. Registration

 (6.1) Mandatory registration on centralized portal developed by CPCB for:

  • Producer (P)
  • Importer (I)
  • Brand owner (BO)
  • Plastic Waste Processor engaged in 
    • Recycling
    • Waste to energy
    • Waste to oil 

The registration is mandatory to deal with or be in business with (6.2,6.3)

If there are any irregularities in the application or misinformation – the registration will be revoked for 5 years and/or a penalty will be imposed (6.4).

(6.5). PIBOs must register (as per SOP) under each of the sub-category listed above (if applicable), along with state-wise registration for each of the sub-category they deal in. 

The entities shall have to provide 

  • PAN Number
  • GST Number
  • CIN Number and
  • Aadhar and 
  • PAN Number of all directors/authorized persons and any other necessary information in the proforma for registration prescribed by CPCB.

Targets

7. Targets for Extended Producer Responsibility and Obligations of PIBOs

7.1 The EPR Targets for the PIBOs shall be determined category-wise and State/UT wise.

7.2 Producer (P)

a) EPR Target (Refer example 1 to 3 in Annexure)

Eligible Quantity in MT (Q 1) 

Q 1 (in MT) = (A + B) – C

A: average weight of plastic packaging material (category-wise and state wise) sold in the last two financial years

B: average quantity of pre-consumer plastic packaging waste in the last two financial year 

C: annual quantity  supplied to the entities covered under sub-clause 4 (iii) in the previous financial year.

The EPR Target shall be determined, category-wise and state/UT wise and detailed in the Action Plan, as given below

Plastic Packaging CategoryYearEPR Target
Category I2021-2235 %
Category II2022 – 2370 %
Category III2023 – 24 and onwards100 %

b) Obligation for recycling 

Minimum level of recycling (excluding end of life disposal) of plastic packaging waste 

(% of EPR Target)

Plastic Packaging Category2023-242024-252025-262026-27 and onwards
Category I50607080
Category II30405060
Category III30405060

c) End of life disposal

Plastics which cannot be recycled such as MLPs – must be sent to end of life disposal such as (according to guidelines in PWM Rule, 2016):

  • Road Construction
  • Waste to Energy
  • Waste to Oil 

7.2 d) Obligation for use of recycled plastic content

Below is the % of plastic packaging which must include recycled plastic.

(% of plastic manufactured for the year)

Plastic packaging category2023-242024-252025-262026-27 and onwards
Category I30405060
Category II20203030
Category III551010

In case above obligations are not met:

  • CPCB can grant an exemption on a case by case basis
  • PIBOs must fulfil their obligations by purchasing a ‘certificate’ of equal qt from PIBOs that have exceeded their obligation
  • The mechanism of exchange will be devised by CPCB through an online central portal.

7.3 Importer 

EPR Target (Refer example 1 to 3 in Annexure)

Eligible Quantity in MT (Q 2) 

Q 1 (in MT) = (A + B) – C

A: average weight of plastic packaging material (category-wise and state wise) imported in the last two financial years

B: average quantity of pre-consumer plastic packaging waste in the last two financial year 

C: annual quantity supplied to the entities covered under sub-clause 4 (iii) in the previous financial year.

The EPR Target shall be determined, category-wise and state/UT wise and detailed in the Action Plan, as given below

Plastic Packaging CategoryYearEPR Target
Category I2021-2235 %
Category II2022 – 2370 %
Category III2023 – 24 and onwards100 %

Obligation for recycling 

Minimum level of recycling (excluding end of life disposal) of plastic packaging waste 

(% of EPR Target)

Plastic Packaging Category2023-242024-252025-262026-27 and onwards
Category I50607080
Category II30405060
Category III30405060

c) End of life disposal

Plastics which cannot be recycled such as MLPs – must be sent to end of life disposal such as (according to guidelines in PWM Rule, 2016):

  • Road Construction
  • Waste to Energy
  • Waste to Oil 

d) Obligation for use of recycled plastic content

Below is the % of plastic packaging which must include recycled plastic.

(% of plastic manufactured for the year)

Plastic packaging category2023-242024-252025-262026-27 and onwards
Category I30405060
Category II20203030
Category III551010

In case above obligations are not met:

  • CPCB can grant an exemption on a case by case basis
  • PIBOs must fulfil their obligations by purchasing a ‘certificate’ of equal qt from PIBOs that have exceeded their obligation
  • The mechanism of exchange will be devised by CPCB through an online central portal.

7.4 Brand Owner (BO) 

a) EPR Target 

Eligible Quantity in MT (Q 3)

Q 3 (in MT) = A + B

A: shall be the average weight of fresh plastic packaging material purchased and introduced in market in the last two financial years

B: average quantity of pre-consumer plastic packaging in the last two financial years. 

The EPR Target shall be determined, category-wise and state/UT wise and detailed in the Action Plan, as given below

Plastic packaging categoryYearEPR Target
Category I2021-2235 %
Category II2022 – 2370 %
Category III2023 – 24 & onwards100 %

b) Obligation for reuse 

Brand Owners using Category 1 (rigid) plastic packaging must meet the obligation of reusing the packaging. 

Below is the minimum obligation of reuse:

YearTarget (as percentage of Category I rigid plastic packaging in product sold annually)
ACategory I rigid plastic packaging of product with volume or weight equal or more than 0.9 litre or kg but less than 4.9 litres or kg, as the case may be
I2023 – 2410
II2024 – 2515
III2025 – 2620
IV2026 – 27 and onwards25
BCategory I rigid plastic packaging of product with volume of weight equal or more than 4.9 litres or kg.
I2023 – 2470
II2024 – 2575
III2025 – 2680
IV2026 – 27 and onwards85

Calculation of quantity of rigid plastic being reused?

  • Reducing fresh plastic packaging manufacturing/importing/purchasing that year
  • Information must be submitted to centralised online portal
  • The quantity of Category I rigid plastic packaging reused during the years 2021-22 and 2022 – 23 shall be reduced from the total plastic packaging used under Category I.

Obligation for recycling 

Minimum level of recycling (excluding end of life disposal) of plastic packaging waste 

(% of EPR Target)

Plastic Packaging Category2023-242024-252025-262026-27 and onwards
Category I50607080
Category II30405060
Category III30405060

c) End of life disposal

Plastics which cannot be recycled such as MLPs – must be sent to end of life disposal such as (according to guidelines in PWM Rule, 2016):

  • Road Construction
  • Waste to Energy
  • Waste to Oil 

d) Obligation for use of recycled plastic content

Below is the % of plastic packaging which must include recycled plastic.

(% of plastic manufactured for the year)

Plastic packaging category2023-242024-252025-262026-27 and onwards
Category I30405060
Category II20203030
Category III551010

In case above obligations are not met:

  • CPCB can grant an exemption on a case by case basis
  • PIBOs must fulfil their obligations by purchasing a ‘certificate’ of equal qt from PIBOs that have exceeded their obligation
  • The mechanism of exchange will be devised by CPCB through an online central portal.

Surplus Targets Fulfilled

(8.1) A PIBO who has fulfilled their EPR targets, category-wise and state-wise, can use the surplus for the following: 

  • Offsetting previous year shortfall
  • Carry forward for use in succeeding year 
  • Sell it to other PIBOs 

(8.2) 

  • Surplus in one category can only be used for off-setting, carry forward and sale in the same category. 
  • A surplus under 
    • reuse can be used for reuse, recycling and end of life disposal. 
    • recycling can be used for recycling and end of life disposal
    • end-of-life disposal cannot be used for reuse or recycling.

(8.3) EPR Certificates purchased by PIBOs incase of unfulfilled targets, must do so in the same category

(8.4) PIBOs are required to submit all the above details on the online portal while filing their annual returns. The credits exchange mechanism will be designed by CPCB. 

Environmental Compensation

9. Guidelines for Environmental Compensation 

(9.2) 

If EPR obligations are not fulfilled or any violation of conditions, CPCB will impose the collection of an environmental compensation on PIBOs, recyclers, and end of life processors. 

(9.3) 

If PIBOs operate in more than 2 states – the environment compensation will be levied by CPCB.

(9.4) 

  • If PIBOs are not operating in more than 2 states – the concerned SPCB will impose environmental compensation. 
  • In case, the State Pollution Control Board/PCC does not take action in reasonable time the CPCB shall issue directions to the SPCB/PCC

Environmental Compensation – Collection and Use 

(9.5) Paying the Environmental Compensation does not exempt PIBOs from fulfilling their EPR targets for the year. 

They are given a period of 3 years to meet the targets unmet in that particular financial year. 

The environmental compensation levied shall be returned to the PIBO as given below  

  • Within one year of levying of EC : 75% return  
  • Within two years 60% return  
  • Within three years 40% return After completion of 3 years on EC getting due the entire EC amount shall be forfeited. 

(9.6) The compensation will be paid into an Escrow account managed by CPCB/SPCB/PCC, which will be used for collecting, recycling and end-of-life disposal of uncollected waste. 

(9.7) Non-fulfilment of obligations set out under these guidelines will attract actions under the provisions of Section 15 of EP Act, 1986.

Plastic Credits Trading

10. Transactions of Plastic Packaging material between PIBO 

(10.3) 

  • BO are required to provide details of plastic packaging procured from Producers and/or Importers. 
  • The quantities obligated on the BO can be deducted from the required quantities of Producers and Importers. 
  • The record of such transactions must be maintained by BOs, category wise.

(10.4)

  • The Producers and Importers must maintain the category-wise record of the quantity of plastic packaging material made available to BO 
  • These records will be cross-checked by the online platform.
  • If records are not maintained, Producers and Importers are required to fulfill their entire EPR obligations. 

Annual Returns

Filing Annual Returns 

(10.6) 

  • PIBOs must file their annual returns of EPR obligations with the CPCB or concerned SPCB or PCC.
  • Filing for next financial year must be completed before 30th April, in the format prescribed by CPCB
  • The returns must contain:
    • Information on reuse, recycled content used for packaging
    • Details of the registered recycler from whom the recycled plastic has been sourced

Provision of Certificate for Plastic Waste Processing 

(11.7) For the amount of waste processed PIBOs are required to submit ‘Certificates of Waste Processing’. These must be obtained from registered plastic waste processors only, except in case of use of plastic waste in road construction. 

(11.8) The format of the certificate will be developed by CPCB.  

(11.9) The certificate shall be in the name of registered PIBOs or Local authorities, as applicable. The mechanism of such certificates will be developed by CPCB. 

Audits by CPCB

Verification and Audit 

(12.4) 

  • A regular audit and inspection of PIBOs compliance will be conducted by CPCB or an assigned agency.
  • This applies to Plastic Waste Processors as well. 
  • Violations, if any, will be penalised by levying an environmental compensation fee. 

Waste Collection system by PIBOs

14. Plastic Packaging Waste Collection System by PIBOs 

(14.1) PIBOs can develop the collection and segregation infrastructure to fulfil their obligations. It is dependent on the mode of EPR adopted by PIBOs. 

(a)Establish waste plastic collection points and Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs); 

(b)Ensure periodic collection of waste from the above mentioned collection points.  

(c)Collection of the plastic waste can be delegated to entities like ULB, gram panchayats, other public authorities or third parties carrying out waste management.

(d)Ensure the collected waste is recycled by a registered recycler and end-of-life use is according to the rules defined. 

(14.2) PIBOs may ensure the network of collection points taking into account population size, expected volume of plastic /packaging waste, accessibility and vicinity to end-users. 

(14.4) Participation of voluntary collection points – Voluntary collection points will hand over plastic packaging waste to the PIBOs or third party agencies acting on their behalf. 

Fulfilment of EPR

15. Fulfilment of EPR Obligations 

  • The recycling certificates must be obtained from registered recyclers only. These must be submitted by the PIBOs by 30th April in the next financial year while filing their annual returns.
  • The certificates and the stated quantity processed will be verified by CPCB/SPCB/PCC

If you are a PIBO based in India and are looking towards implementing your EPR certification plans, we are here to assist you in it. Recykal is a registered PRO that uses its digital waste management platform to manage plastic and e-waste in India.

With growing network of Brands, Recyclers, Aggregators and Local Waste Pickers – our EPR Loop will make you a part of this umbrella network ‘Digitally’.

Interested? Get in touch with us or book a free 30 minute EPR consultation with out team of experts.

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