Ambiguities in the process of EPR

Ambiguities in the process of EPR

The scope of EPR in India has been limited by numerous factors like the expanse of the country, the difference in governance, the acceptance by the population etc. But the most important reason being the ambiguities in the process which create confusion among the stakeholders inhibiting the growth of EPR in India.

This article is dedicated to understanding such problems so that the stakeholders be equipped with the knowledge to face them.

Sr. No Ambiguity Maleficiary Issue
1 Target Distribution between brand owners and producers Producers and Brand Owners
No clarity on who needs to do how much. In the case of city-level, local brands, many of them are not doing anything on EPR front and consequently, all the responsibility is falling on producers. Even in the case of big brands, only FMCG MNCs are active while domestic big brands are not paying much attention. So in some cases, 100% responsibility is on producers while in some cases it is 50-50 sharing between the producers and the brand owners.

2

EPR Targets PIBOs
The PIBOs are not yet sure about the targets for EPR. There is no official guideline from the Government explicitly stating how much % of total plastic waste is to be covered under EPR. Due to the absence of such targets, PIBOs have set their own target, mostly conservative ones, and the issue of plastic waste littering still remains.
3
End of product life
PIBOs
EPR is defined as the responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life. So in the case of products like Fridge or washing machines, the end of life is after 15-20 years. Are they also supposed to do EPR right now?
4
State-wise variations
PIBOs, Agencies
CPCB being only the policy-making body, the implementation is left to SPCBs. Due to this, each state is implementing EPR and PWM in their own way creating confusion among brands with a multi-state presence. In some states, EPR is not being implemented at all while in some states, industries are facing closure notices from the Pollution control boards.
5
Industry-wide variations
PIBOs, Agencies
In the current scenario, the SPCBs are only focussing on FMCG companies. Whereas pharma companies, auto industries and others who use plastic for packaging are not under focus of government authorities.
6
Data documentation
CPCB, SPCB, PIBOs
There is no centralized mechanism like a web portal for recording data and reporting about the EPR activity. Absence of this mechanism means restrictions on having access to real-time data and decision making.