PET or Poly Ethylene Terephthalate is widely used in India. With over 0.9 million tonnes of PET manufactured, 90% of the PET bottle scrap gets recycled, the remaining 10% is left unmanaged.
PET bottle scrap or PET Waste related regulations are listed in the following guidelines and rules in India:
- Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016 , India
- IS 14534: 1998 Guidelines for Recycling of Plastics
- IS 14535: 1998 Recycling Plastics for the Manufacturing of Products – Designation
Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016 , India
Under the PWM Rules, one of the policy tools of waste management is the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Apart from EPR, the PWM Rules highlight the need for identification of the type of material being used to manufacture plastic product: ‘Each recycled carry bag shall bear a label or a mark “recycled” as shown below and shall conform to the Indian Standard: IS 14534: 1998…’. The mentioned standard has been discussed in the next section.
What is EPR?
Extended Producer Responsibility or EPR as the name suggests, is the responsibility of a product manufacturer to manage the waste generated from products after its end-of-life use by the consumer, which reduces waste entering landfills and heightens recycling rates with many other benefits.
SOP For Action PlanThe SOP outlines the procedures to be adhered by PIBOs towards Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), with one section highlighting the EPR Action Plan required to be submitted.
‘PIBOs are required to produce information on types of plastics being processed by the PWPF – …Low value (LDPE, MLP, PP); High valued (HDPE, PP, PET etc.)’ – This regulation is a requirement for PIBOs that generate PET Bottle Scrap, while they submit an EPR Action Plan to the CPCB for their EPR Registration.
To assist in easier understanding of the guidelines, here is All you need to know about the EPR Action Plan.
The PWM Rules and their consequent amendments highlight the methods of handling plastic waste and the compliance for brands to be registered with the CPCB* for EPR fulfillment.
Bureau of Indian Standards
Bureau of Indian Standards or BIS is a statutory institute
IS 14534: 1998 Guidelines for Recycling of Plastics
The standard provides guidelines for Recyclers, and Manufacturers of recycled plastics on where and in what form can the PET Scrap be reused and the need for stamping it with identification. This helps in identifying if the plastic product is made from virgin, recycled PET, or others.
For products manufactured using PET – the number ‘1’ must be stamped or mentioned on the products along with the recyclability symbol.
The below is the list of suggested end-products of recycled PET:
- Non food containers for detergents, shampoos, petroleum products, pallets, including reusable packaging containers
- Film, sheet for non-food applications,
- Carpets and floor mats, playground equipment’s, jacket, T-shirts, sports-wear, geotextiles, tool handles, footwear, and luggage
IS 14535: 1998 Recycling Plastics for the Manufacturing of Products – Designation
The standard highlights the guidelines for plastics manufacturing including the Melt Flow Rate (MFR), with specific temperatures for PET in particular among other recyclables.
In the most recent update, India is one among the few countries that banned the import of recycling plastics especially PET plastics. India banned the import of plastic waste in 2016. Due to the poor waste separation at the source, the majority of the valuable PET waste ends up in the landfills, as a result, many recyclers resorted to importing the PET bottle scrap.
According to the Director-General of Foreign Trade, India imported nearly 27 crore rupees worth of PET scrap in 2014-2015.
India has become a larger scrap plastic importer over the past two years and was among the top importers of U.S. plastic in 2018Resource Recycling
There are more than 3500 recyclers in India and 4000 more in the unorganised sector. With the lack of waste segregation and proper channels of waste disposal, there is a huge gap in the demand and supply of PET scrap.
In conclusion, with the growing dependence on single-use plastic and plastic items in the name of hygiene (in the current pandemic), there is an urgent need to have comprehensive and extensive regulations that will help keep the PET bottle scrap waste in the system and out of the environment.
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*PWPF: Plastic Waste Processing Facility- Recycler/ Co-processor, etc.
CPCB: Central Pollution Control Board