India is not only one of the world’s most populated countries, it also has a highly dynamic market economy with an impressive growth rate. This trend has resulted in the large-scale alleviation of poverty and given rise to an increasing number of middle-class consumers. Such achievements are highly desirable from the perspective of human well-being; however, the prospect of prolonged economic development will put a huge strain on India’s natural resources. It also creates a waste problem, especially in regards to plastic and electronic waste.
In 2016, the Indian government introduced the Plastic Waste Management Rules and the electronic-Waste Management Rules. It also reaffirmed the importance of an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme as a central policy approach to manage the growing amounts of waste.
What can be achieved with an Extended Producer Responsibility?
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a widely applied policy principle under which producers are given responsibility for the end-of-life phase of post-consumer products (OECD n.d.). It seeks to induce changes in both upstream processes (e.g. eco-design) and downstream processes of a product’s value chain (e.g. developing a waste management infrastructure) towards a reduction of waste and enhanced recycling.
The implementation of an EPR has hence the potential to increase resource efficiency and make a valuable contribution to the transition towards a circular economy.
Enhancing Resource Efficiency through Extended Producer Responsibility
This study analyses the economics of the plastics and electronics industries, material flows resulting from this as well as the existing policy landscape with regards to the implementation of EPR. Based on numerous expert interviews and three stakeholder consultation workshops, the authors have developed various policy recommendations which drive resource efficiency in the area of plastic waste (particular packaging) and waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE or e-waste).
Potential for IndoEuropean collaboration to push the circular economy
The study also highlights the potential for IndoEuropean collaborations in the area of resource efficiency and circular economy. For example, a producer responsibility partnership could be created in order to work together towards the implementation of collection, transport and treatment standards.