extended producer responsibility in India
EPR e-waste
EPR and Circular Economy
EPR Authorization

Waste is a growing concern in the country today. With a population size of 1.4 billion and increasing, it is only obvious that the amount of waste generated is scaling exponentially. Little do you know that the increasing waste is affecting human lives and the environment. Haven’t you heard of the persisting global crises? Climate change, loss of biodiversity, health crises, and more, the list goes on. Swearing by waste management techniques is the only way forward.

Are landfills the right options to manage waste?

Speaking of waste management, one of the foremost solutions that top the list is landfills. As convenient as it sounds, the dumping grounds are nothing more than worthless sizable spaces that pose environmental hazards. Wondering how? The landfills comprise heaps of toxic chemicals and non-biodegradable particles. Further, the chemicals seep into the soil, contaminating the earth and the groundwater. Leaving the waste unattended and piling up has more consequences than you know. The chemicals react when exposed, polluting the air and causing a spike in greenhouse gas emissions.

The cycle of odds does not end here. Excessive contamination and toxic scores affect the health and well-being of human beings. For instance, respiratory disorders, nerve problems, sharp cognitive decline, and cancer are some of the major health issues caused as an aftermath of chemical pollution. In addition to environmental and health impacts, a flaw in effective waste management leads to economic crises.

In short, landfills are no strategic measures to tackle and manage waste.

The real scenario of landfills

Have you ever been to Ghazipur? It stands out as an iconic place in the capital city of New Delhi, owing to the mammoth 213 feet tall pile of garbage. Do you know what’s surprising? The mountain of trash is only 8 metres short of the heritage landmark of Qutub Minar. Commissioned as a designated dump zone long back in 1984, the landfill is now overflowing with trash. Besides Ghazipur, there are two more designated dumpsites in Delhi, namely Bhalswa and Okhla. Why just Delhi? From the Deonar dumping ground in Maharashtra and Dhapa on the eastern fringes of Kolkata to Mavallipura in Bangalore and more, the country is brimming with landfills. Despite the efforts, the waste scene is appalling in this country.

Furthermore, did you ever walk through the slums and establishments in the area? If not, here’s elaborating on a real-life scenario worth contemplating. Millions of slum dwellers defecate in the open, malnutrition is more common than expected, the dirty and polluted rivers are a child’s playground, and the stench in the air is rich in gases like methane, hydrogen sulphide, sewer gas, and more; which are also carcinogenic. In short, living conditions in slums are worse.

What is EPR, and how is it an effective waste management technique?

Managing waste the right way is clearly obvious. Are you thinking about recycling? Well, recycling is certainly a strategic initiative to tackle waste. However, it is an end-of-the-funnel approach that does nothing to prevent the generation of waste. Moreover, the challenges of recycling are not unknown. From the lack of awareness to poor infrastructure and sky-high expenditures, recycling, too, has limitations and drawbacks.

What popped in next in the circles of waste management is circular economy. It is a well-thought and strategic approach to minimise and shrink the creation of waste by all means. Circularity aims to keep resources and raw materials in a closed loop for the longest time. Simply put, circular economy is a rethought model of production and consumption that focuses on three critical measures:

1. Reduce

2. Reuse

3. Recycle.

It is a no-brainer that keeping up with the growing consumerism implies amplified production of goods. Likewise, the stress of mining natural resources to create the products is at an all-time high. Contrary to what many believe, these resources are practically finite in nature, meaning that the resources are gradually turning extinct with time. Circular economy nips in the bud to prevent permanent loss of resources. It focuses on scalability and encourages manufacturers and entrepreneurs to utilise materials that feature longevity and are easy to reuse.

But what about EPR in waste management? What does the concept truly imply?

EPR is an abbreviation for Extended Producer Responsibility. It is a strategic policy framework that impels manufacturers, business owners, recyclers, and individuals to bear complete responsibility for a product’s lifecycle, right from scratch to its end-of-life.

Sadly, the awareness around extended producer responsibility in India is not very impressive. It is an economic and environmental approach to managing the end-to-end lifecycle of a product. Think about it – do you wreck your brain a zillion times before discarding an electronic product or a spent battery? For commoners, the only accessible option is to trash the waste in bins. This sadly ends up in landfills. With a vision to rule out the mindless practice of trashing, EPR authorization formally binds manufacturers and entrepreneurs to treat the disposal of post-consumer products in an arranged and guided fashion.

Is EPR authorization mandatory for all producers?

As per the e-waste management rules, 2016, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) emphasises that EPR authorization is mandatory for all manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment. Little did you know that India was one of the very first countries to implement EPR to tackle the outnumbering electronic waste in 2012. Why just EPR e-waste? EPR authorization is now obligatory for the manufacturers of plastic and plastic products too.

Extended producer responsibility in India assigns manufacturers the responsibility to design products for the environment and decrease the creation of waste at source.

Does EPR really work in India?

EPR authorization directs producers, brand owners, retailers, and distributors to undertake financial and environmental responsibility for products. It means that only a licensed producer is responsible for collecting and disposing of the products via authorised recyclers. Meanwhile, a distributor and a retailer are also responsible for gathering and recycling post-consumer products. According to the law, producers must take back the products as it approaches the end of the life cycle and dispose of the products rightfully.

Regardless of the directive, the efficiency of EPR is yet to hit its peak. Hence, manufacturers and business owners can always collaborate with authorized Producer Responsibility Organisations like Karo Sambhav to manage products that reach their end of life. Karo Sambhav is a well-known organisation setting up equipped collection centres across the country, gathering waste and implementing proper disposal setups to treat and discard the trash.

Karo Sambhav collaborates with leading organisations to jointly develop industry frameworks, standards, governance mechanisms, systems and processes that advance the transition to circular economy. know more about our alliances.

alliances

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