Inquire now

Who is Responsible for Plastic Waste?

Over the last century, more than 8.8 billion tons of plastic have been produced globally, with a staggering 460 million tons generated in 2019 alone—accounting for approximately 5% of total production. This surge has led to widespread plastic waste and significant environmental concerns worldwide.

In India, tackling plastic waste is addressed through an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) requires recyclers to submit their recycling data for plastic packaging and issue corresponding EPR credits.

This approach stems from the Solid Waste Management Rules of 2016, which hold producers accountable for their products’ disposal after use. Manufacturers, brand owners, and importers must ensure that product collection and disposal are environmentally responsible. EPR aims to incentivize sustainable product design and comprehensive life cycle management by producers.

The Indian EPR framework categorizes plastic waste into four types:
1: Rigid package plastics
2: Single or multilayer flexible plastics made from different types
3: Multilayer packaging combining plastic with other materials
4: Plastic sheets used in packaging and compostable plastic carry bags

Producers, importers, and brand owners operating in India are subject to EPR obligations regardless of business size or revenue. Initial compliance targets are deliberately low to encourage stakeholder engagement.
These targets will gradually increase to foster greater reuse and recycling rates among plastics towards a more circular economy model. The following table outlines the progressive targets set for upcoming years.

In 2022, India set a plastic recycling target under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) initiative at 3 million tonnes. Category 2 comprised the majority with 55% (1.65 million tonnes), followed by category 1 at 33% (990,000 tonnes); category 3 at 12% (360,000 tonnes); and category 4 contributing just 10,833 tons.

India currently has approximately 2,215 active plastic waste processors (PWPs). Gujarat leads in plastic recycling and EPR operations with the highest number of registered PWPs—621—and an additional 24 pending registration. Delhi ranks second with its tally of 404 registered PWPs. Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh is witnessing growth in this sector as it anticipates approval for another 28 processing facilities.

Figure 2 shows that in 2022, India’s registered plastic waste processors collectively issued around 3.7 million EPR certificates. Each certificate corresponds to the recycling of one tonne of plastic. Category 1 led with 1.3 million certificates, surpassing its EPR target by 300,000. In contrast, category 2 only produced about 900,000 certificates, missing its annual target by a significant margin—700,000.

India has been tackling the growing plastic waste problem through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system. The aim of EPR is twofold: to promote environmentally responsible management and to encourage the creation of eco-friendly products throughout their lifecycle.

To enhance this policy measure, Plastic Credits have been introduced as an innovative market-based solution. This scheme motivates companies to exceed regulatory requirements by investing in projects that effectively reduce or eliminate plastic pollution from our surroundings.

Reproduction is not allowed without permission.:Rumtoo Recycling Machinery » Who is Responsible for Plastic Waste?