Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021

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Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021

Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change vide notification dated 12th August 2021, notified the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021. The amendment basically aims to prohibit identified single-use plastic items, having low utility and high littering potentials, by the year 2022.

Notably, post amendment rules, the existing entities which are engaged in business activities involving plastic/ plastic items will have to reduce and subsequently eliminate the sale, delivery, production, etc. of single-use plastic commodities. Further, there are also some important amendments relating to marking or labeling and thickness of plastic carry bags. The same is summarized in the present article.

Meaning of the term ‘Single-use plastic’ and theory of adverse effect thereon-

Vide the amendment rules, a new clause (va) is inserted to rule 3(iii) which covers the definition of the term ‘Single-use plastic commodity’. Accordingly, it means a plastic item that is intended to be used only one time for the same purpose. After that, it will either be disposed of or recycled. Plastic bags, straws, and paper cups are some of the examples of ‘single-use plastic commodity’.

The large and growing volume of the ‘Single-use plastic commodity’ waste adds hugely to the total plastic waste. Due to this, it is having very adverse effects on both the terrestrial as well as aquatic ecosystems.

Amendment in rules relating to ‘Single-use plastic’-

A new sub-rule (2) is inserted to rule 4 which prohibits the manufacture, stocking, distribution, import, sale, and use of the following ‘single-use plastic commodities (including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene)’ from 1st July 2022-

  • Earbuds with plastic sticks,
  • Plastic flags,
  • Plastic sticks for balloons,
  • Ice-cream sticks,
  • Candy sticks,
  • Polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration,
  • Cups,
  • Plates,
  • Cutlery like spoons, forks, straw, knives, wrapping/ packing films around sweet boxes, trays, cigarette packets, and invitation cards,
  • Glasses,
  • Plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns,
  • Stirrers.

Notably, the above prohibition will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic.

Amendment in thickness of plastic carry bags-

With a view to stopover, the littering on account of lightweight plastic carrier bags and enable reuse, the thickness of the plastic carry bags is increased in the following manner-

  1. Firstly, from 50 microns to 75 microns with effect from 30th September 2021; and
  2. Thereafter, from 75 microns to 120 microns with effect from 31st December 2021.

Amendments relating to Marking or Labelling-

Following amendments are carried out in rule 11 relating to marking or labeling-

  • The producer or brand owner of the carry bags is also required to mention the information like name, registered number, and thickness of the carry bags. Earlier the same applied only to the manufacturer.
  • From now, even on the plastic packing the information like name, the registered number of the manufacturer or producer or brand owner, and thickness needs to be mentioned,
  • Multi-layered packaging used for imported goods is excluded from the requirement of mentioning of name and registered number of the manufacturer.

Other important amendments-

  • Definition of the term ‘Non-woven plastic bags’ is inserted in rule 3(i)(na) which means a non-woven plastic bag made up of any of the following which is bonded by mechanical or chemical or thermal means-
    • Plastic sheet; or
    • Web structure fabric of entangled plastic fibers; or
  • Rule 3(ii)(qa) is inserted which defines the term ‘Plastic waste processing’ as a process, wherein, plastic waste is handled for any of the following purposes-
    • Reuse,
    • Recycling,
    • Transformation in new product, or
    • Co-processing.
  • The terms ‘Thermoset plastic’ and ‘Thermoplastic’ is defined as under-
Term Rule vide which the definition is inserted Definition
Thermoset plastic Rule 3(iii)(vb) Plastic, when headed, becomes permanently rigid and accordingly cannot be remoulded into any desired shape.
Thermoplastic Rule 3(iii)(vc) Plastic, when headed, becomes soft and can be moulded into any desired shape.
  • With effect from 30th September 2021, non-woven plastic carry bags cannot be less than 60 Gram Per Square Meter.

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Post by poonamgandhi

CA Poonam Gandhi is a Chartered Accountant and a Lawyer. With a wide practice experience and deep understanding of different laws and taxes, she has been an independent professional writer in the field of taxation, finance and laws.