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BAN on import of Electronics & PET Scrap - Govt.of India

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by - 9/24/2015 7723 Views

Indian Market will boom

(Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/6th Aug 2015)

For long, India was stigmatized as a dumping yard of the developed world's discarded waste, the govt.of India has drafted out a policy to discard that identity. The government has slyly banned the import of PET bottles, plastic scrap and a whole host of waste items, including electronic waste, which is being dumped to India for recycling, according to the experts of waste management this move would force the country to brain storm the better utilisation of waste generated at home.

The ministry of environment, forests & climate change, through a surprise order issued in July 2015, banned import of all used plastic or PET bottles scrap by recycling plants in India and asked these units to rely on similar waste generated within the country from now on.

And it's not just plastic waste import the ministry is targeting. The ministry has also taken a policy decision to ban import of all kinds of household waste, non-exportable electrical equipment and computers & accessories that don't have a clearly preset residual life.

This drastic move is part of a two -step drive to push for better waste management in India while at the same time prevents the country from turning into a dump yard for global waste. The order, which was issued by the ministry's Hazardous Substance Management (HSM) Division, followed a meeting of an expert committee held last May which rejected all proposals to import used PET and other plastic waste on grounds there was enough plastic scrap available in the country, most of which remains unutilised and therefore created a disposal issue. 

"Under the new rules, we have clearly said no to import of PET bottles in India for recycling and no import of household waste either. First what's generated in India must be treated and recycled. Tonnes of PET bottles come to India from across the world while our own waste stays unaddressed. This has to be corrected," said an anonymous member of the committee. 


Besides banning imports of certain items, the committee has also streamlined the process for other kinds of waste imports. State pollution control boards will be the direct interface for imports of all permitted items while the central government will continue to monitor and decide on permissions when it comes to import of lead batteries and such like. Discarded electrical equipment being imported for recycling must have a residual life of at least five years and it must be linked with e-waste disposal requirement, the expert committee member said. India, China and Bangladesh are among the top recyclers of the world's waste and the environment ministry had all these years generously permitted import of PET bottles by licensed recycling units in India.

Sumit Kumar, director of HK Industries, a plastic recycling unit based in Delhi, said the industry relies on imports because it is unable to get the desired quantity of PET scrap in India at a good price.
"That apart, waste segregation is hardly practised in India, so there is no clear flow of scrap/raw material from consumption point to recycling unit. The government orders would work fine if PET scrap was better organised in India," he said. 

Among environmentalists, too, the views are mixed. Ravi Agarwal, director of Toxics Link, a Delhi-based environmental NGO, said while the thrust on first collecting the waste in the country is a positive step, there is also need for simultaneous engagement with the recycling industry. 

"PET bottles are largely down cycled to fibre and we generate one billion plus of them in India. The new policy focus is clearly on improving collection first in the country rather than importing. The government has come up with the new orders. That is a good step but a more comprehensive engagement with the recycling industry is needed to ensure this works. Unlike in China, the scale of our recycling industry is still quite small and it needs greater investment to be able to process local waste effectively," he said. But Anita Ahuja of NGO Conserve, which works on recycling urban waste, felt the import ban may be short-sighted. 

"A ban is no solution. Waste should be treated as a resource for the future. India is importing plastic scrap quite cheap currently for recycling and this is an industry that will survive just another 10-15 years until the western world shifts to near-zero waste economies. As a developing country, we should encourage our recycling industry instead of banning things," she said. 


In a discussion with a recycling expert, it was pointed out that this policy would be very beneficial as it would clean up the landfills, it would help in better waste management, and it would help the development of new ventures and provide employment oppurtunities. This BAN can be a BOON for Indian markets to boom. There is a huge scope for PET recycling industry in India if we could meticulously chalk out a well-designed waste management plan.

Category : Plastic

Tags : PET Bottle Recycling, PET Bottle Scrap, PET Plastic Recycling, PET Plastic Scrap, PET Plastic Current Market Trend

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