EPR For Plastics

Hidden Costs of Convenience: Uncovering the true environmental and economic implications of Single-Use Plastics and examining EPR as a potential solution.

Imagine this: You've purchased groceries neatly packed in a plastic bag. After a short while, it's ready to be discarded with hardly a second thought. This scene, so familiar to many of us, is a snapshot of convenience. But what if I told you this seemingly harmless routine harbors a hidden cost, one that sticks around long after that plastic bag is tossed in the bin?

Unveiling the Cost of Convenience:

That plastic bag we casually throw away doesn't vanish. It ends up in packed landfills, messing up the soil and threatening marine life. But it's not just the environment taking a hit, it affects our wallets too. As taxpayers, we're the ones covering the costs to clean up the plastic mess. Expanding landfills comes with a hefty price tag, encroaching on valuable land and putting a strain on our budgets. The oceans, filled with plastic, harm industries like tourism and fisheries, crucial for our local economies. Single-use plastics might seem handy, but they're quietly draining money from our communities while causing an environmental mess.

EPR as a potential solution

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a policy approach gaining momentum globally, is reshaping the equation of convenience from a fleeting moment of plastic-wrapped ease to a shared responsibility that spans from production to disposal. An EPR policy holds manufacturers accountable for managing post- consumer waste as well as the complete lifecycle of their products.

EPR Focus Areas:

1. Reuse
2. Recycling End-of-life disposal
3. Use of recycled plastic content
4. End of life disposal

Who Needs to Register?

The following parties are required to register for an EPR registration certificate under Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) or State Pollution Control Board (SPCB):

1. Manufacturers
2. Importers
3. Brand owners
4. Plastic Waste Processors involved in recycling, waste to energy, waste to oil, and industrial composting.

Producers Take Center Stage:

Traditionally, once a product is sold, producers step back, but EPR changes this norm. Producers are no longer distant entities; they actively participate and become accountable for their packaging from production to disposal.

Responsibilities of Producers, Importers, and Brand Owners:

1. Producers, Importers, and Brand Owners (PIBOs) need to register under the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) or State Pollution Control Board (SPCB).

2. PIBOs must submit an Action Plan detailing their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) targets, when applying for registration or renewal under the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016.

3. Brand Owners should provide information about the plastic packaging they purchase from Producers and/or Importers separately. The quantities from each Producer and Importer will be deducted from their respective obligations.

4. Producers and Importers are responsible for keeping records of the quantity of plastic packaging provided to Brands.

5. Producers, Importers, and Brand Owners must submit annual returns on the plastic packaging waste collected and processed to fulfill their Extended Producer Responsibility obligations. These returns should be filed with the Central Pollution Control Board or the relevant State Pollution Control Board by June 30th of the following financial year.

EPR Collaboration for Sustainable Material Use

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) goes beyond just plastic – it includes various materials. It's like a team effort, where producers, consumers, waste collectors, and policymakers all work together. They create a connected system where resources move smoothly from one product to another, making sure nothing is wasted in landfills. This way, everything keeps moving in a circle, ensuring we use materials wisely and take care of the environment.

Plastic packaging categories included in EPR:

Category I: Rigid plastic packaging.

Category II: Flexible plastic packaging, including single or multilayered types, plastic sheets, covers, carry bags, sachets, or pouches.

Category III: Multi-layered plastic packaging, comprising at least one layer of plastic and one layer of non-plastic material.

Category IV: Plastic sheets or similar materials used for packaging, along with carry bags made from compostable plastics.

Ban on Single Use Plastic items:

The Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2021 are all about tackling single-use plastics. They're putting a stop to certain items that aren't very useful but cause a lot of litter, including things like polystyrene and expanded polystyrene. These rules make it illegal to manufacture, import, store, distribute, sell, or use these single-use plastic products.

Banned products include –

1. Ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene [Thermocol] for decoration.

2. Plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers.

EPR Success Story in Indore:

Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) in Madhya Pradesh, India, presents a success story as it achieves the milestone of being the first urban body in the country to earn Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) credit for recycling prohibited single-use plastic items. The city of Indore has enforced a comprehensive ban on single-use plastic items. In a recent development, IMC took stringent measures, seizing around eight tonnes of such plastic, effectively curbing its circulation within the city.


The journey from hidden costs of convenience to the potential solution of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) unveils a critical shift in how we perceive and manage single-use plastics. EPR not only holds producers accountable but also fosters collaboration among various stakeholders for sustainable material use.

Also, Indore Municipal Corporation's success story shows how EPR can make a real difference. By being the first urban body in India to earn EPR credit for recycling banned single-use plastic items, Indore demonstrates effective ways to manage waste.

By working together, we can reduce the environmental impact of plastic pollution and move towards a more sustainable future.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialistadvice should be sought about your specific circumstances.