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India Plastics Pact

  • 10 Aug 2021
  • 6 min read

Why in News

The India Plastics Pact, the first in Asia, will be launched in September in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

  • Recently, a report published on closing the plastic circular Gap, suggested that there is a dire need to make large scale global interventions to manage plastic waste.

Plastic Pacts

  • The Plastics Pacts are business-led initiatives and transform the plastics packaging value chain for all formats and products.
  • The Pacts bring together everyone from across the plastics value chain to implement practical solutions.
  • All Pacts unite behind four targets:
    • To eliminate unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging through redesign and innovation;
    • To ensure all plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable,
    • To increase the reuse, collection, and recycling of plastic packaging,
    • And to increase recycled content in plastic packaging.
  • The first Plastics Pact was launched in the U.K. in 2018.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The India Plastics Pact is an ambitious, collaborative initiative that aims to bring together businesses, governments and NGOs across the whole value chain to set time-bound commitments to reduce plastics from their value chains.
    • While the India Plastics Pact will be active in India, it will link globally with other Plastics Pacts.
    • The Pact will develop a road map for guidance, form action groups composed of members, and initiate innovation projects.
      • Members’ accountability is ensured through ambitious targets and annual data reporting.
    • The vision, targets and ambition of the India Plastics Pact are aligned with the circular economy principles of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy.
  • Aim:
    • The Pact aims to transform the current linear plastics system into a circular plastics economy that will:
      • Reduce the use of problematic plastics,
      • Retain valuable materials in the economy for use in other products,
      • Generate jobs, investment and opportunities in the plastics system in India.
    • It aims to promote public-private collaborations that enable solutions to eliminate the plastics we do not need, bring innovation to packaging design, and to capture the value of the plastics we use.
  • Need for Plastic Pacts:
    • Indian Scenario:
      • India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually.
      • 40% plastic waste goes uncollected.
      • 43% of all plastics produced in India are used for packaging, majority of them being single-use.
      • However, viewed from the angle of livelihoods, post-consumer segregation, collection and disposal of plastics make up about half of the income of 1.5- 4 million waste-pickers in India.
    • Global Scenario:
      • Mismanagement of more than 7.7 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste globally over the next 20 years is expected, which is equivalent to 16-times the weight of the human population.
        • Among the many applications of plastic, plastic packaging is the largest.
      • A 2019 report by the Center for International Environmental Law suggests that by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from plastic could reach over 56 gigatonnes, 10-13% of the remaining carbon budget.
  • Expected Outcome:
    • It can be expected to boost demand for recycled content, investments in recycling infrastructure, jobs in the waste sector, and beyond.
    • The Pact will support the Extended Producer Responsibility framework of the government and improve solid waste management as envisioned in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
    • Integral to the Pact’s framework is the involvement of the informal waste sector crucial to post-consumer segregation, collection and processing of plastic waste.
    • Apart from benefits to society and economy, delivering the targets will drive circularity of plastics and help tackle pollution.
    • They will lead to significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Circular Economy

  • The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.
  • In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible. These can be productively used again and again, thereby creating further value.

Principles in Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy:

  • It is based on three principles:
    • Design out waste and pollution.
    • Keep products and materials in use.
    • Regenerate natural systems.

Source: TH

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