Laws related to Plastic Waste Management in India

Laws related to Plastic Waste Management in India

This article on “Laws related to Plastic waste management in India” was written by Shudhi Malhotra, an intern at Legal Upanishad.


Plastic waste is not biodegradable, unlike other types of waste like paper, food peels, leaves, etc., which can be broken down by bacteria or other living things. As a result, it lingers in the environment for hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of years. The proliferation of plastic debris in the environment is the main cause of plastic pollution. It can be separated into primary plastics, such as bottle caps and buds of cigarettes, and secondary plastics, which are created as primary plastics deteriorate. It was formerly believed that one of humanity’s greatest discoveries was the polymer known as plastic.

The need for plastic waste management

  1. Plastic was created in 1907, and because it was more practical and affordable than other materials, it quickly found employment in a variety of aspects of daily life.
  2. Plastic is utilized in a wide range of industries, including packaging, building, construction, transportation, industrial machinery, and health, among others, and is present in practically everything today, from our money to technological products.
  3. However, the lack of enduring plastic waste management poses a major threat to the environment globally and the natural ecology (PWM).
  4. In the absence of efficient PWM concentrating on the reuse, reduction, and recycling of plastic waste, plastic pollution has become a severe global threat.
  5. The packaging sector is the main producer of 400 million tonnes of plastic trash produced annually by various manufacturing companies worldwide. A FICCI survey claims that 40% of India’s packaging requirements have been satisfied on plastic.
  6. The burden of managing plastic trash falls primarily on developing countries, however, both wealthy and developing nations are taking individual action.

Laws related to plastic waste management?

The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for plastic packaging was recently made clear in the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022, which the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change recently made public.

  • Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 have been modified to expedite the ban on single-use plastics and encourage alternatives.
  • Extended Procedure Responsibility refers to a producer’s duty to manage a product in an ecologically sound manner up until the end of its useful life.

What is Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016?

  • The 2016 Plastic Waste Management Rules were announced on March 18. Carry bags, plastic sheets, multilayer packaging, etc. may be manufactured, imported, stored, distributed, sold, and used by these regulations.
  • For the first time, waste generators are now required to comply. Local government rules mandate that offices, businesses, and other significant producers of plastic garbage segregate the material at the source, deliver it, and pay a user fee.
  • Manufacturers are responsible for the treatment, recycling, reuse, or disposal of products after a consumer has used and disposed of them under the Extended Producers Responsibility (Under Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016) regulations.

Provisions under the New Rules

Category of plastics:

  • Category 1- This category will comprise rigid plastic packing.
  • Category 2- This category will comprise flexible plastic packaging that is formed of a single layer or a multilayer (more than one layer made of various kinds of plastic), plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheets, carry bags, plastic sachets, or pouches.
  • Category 3- This category will include multi-layered plastic packaging that has at least one coating of plastic and at least one layer of another material.
  • Category 4- This includes carry bags made of biodegradable polymers as well as plastic sheets or the like that are used for packaging.

Plastic packing

To limit the use of new plastic material for packaging, the standards require the reuse of rigid plastic packaging materials. Further, reducing plastic use and promoting the recycling of plastic packaging waste will be the enforceable requirement of a minimum level of recycling of plastic packaging waste gathered under EPR.

Centralized online portal

  • The government has also demanded that by the end of March 2022, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) establish a centralized online portal for the registration and submission of annual returns by producers, importers, and brand-owners of plastic packaging waste.
  • In terms of orders and guidelines for the execution of EPR for plastic packaging under the 2016 Plastic Waste Management Rule, it would serve as the single-point data repository.

Environment compensation

  • If producers, importers, and brand owners fail to meet their EPR targets, environmental compensation will be assessed based on the polluter pays principle intending to conserve and enhance environmental quality as well as prevent, maintain, and reduce environmental pollution.
  • Regardless of the motivation, the Polluter Pays Principle holds polluters accountable for damages and the cost of restoring the environment to its pre-pollution form.

What is the Significance of the Guidelines?

  1. It will encourage the creation of fresh plastic substitutes and give companies a road map for switching to environmentally friendly plastic packaging.
  2. The recommendations offer a framework for enhancing the circular economy of waste plastic packaging.
  3. By reusing, sharing, repairing, renovating, remanufacturing, and recycling materials, a closed-loop system is produced that reduces resource use, waste creation, pollution, and carbon emissions.
  4. These are crucial actions for lowering pollution brought on by the nation’s discarded plastic waste.
    • Every year, India produces roughly 3.4 million tonnes of plastic garbage. By 2024, the United Nations Development Program wants to virtually treble the number of Indian cities where it manages plastic garbageThe environment has been damaged by the proliferation of plastic waste, and marine ecosystems may also suffer greatly when this waste enters the sea.


The necessity to maintain a balance between economic expansion and environmental conservation grows as industrial activity increases. The idea of sustainable development is receiving more attention since it allows for the simultaneous achievement of both goals without compromising either one.

Compliance with environmental standards also enhances the organization’s brand image. In addition, there have been stricter laws and regulations governing waste management and environmental preservation. The requirement to operate sustainably will not tolerate any laxity. Organizations’ ability to conduct business operations may also be suspended by the State if they violate the established norms.

Organizations must approach the problems of waste management and environmental protection with efficiency if they are to avoid such penalties. They must also assist society as a whole in developing in a way that is long-term sustainable. Today’s world demands that plastic waste be managed sustainably. Plastic can be converted from waste to a renewable resource if waste management instances are environmentally friendly. The management of plastic trash offers a special chance to support 14 of the 17 SDGs.