Regulations regarding PET/Recycled PET usage in India

Bureau of Indian Standards has issued standards/guidelines on how to recover and recycle plastic waste and what kind of products could be manufactured from recycled plastics

IS 14534: 1998: Guidelines for the recovery and recycling of plastic waste. This standard prescribes guidelines for the selection, segregation and processing of plastics waste/ scrap. This standard also prescribes guidelines to the  manufacturers of plastic products with regard to the marking to be used on the finished product in order to facilitate identification of the basic raw material. It will also help in identifying whether the material used on the end product is virgin, recyclate or a blend of virgin and recyclate.

In the Annex A of this guideline, the products allowed to be manufactured from recycled PET is listed (as follows): Non food containers for detergents, shampoos, petroleum products, pallets, including reusable packaging containers, film, sheet for non-food applications, Carpets and floor mats, playground equipment’s, jacket, T-shirts, sports-wear, geotextiles, tool handles, footwear, luggage, etc. (The copy of the standards is available here.

IS 14535: 1998: Indian Standard for Recycled plastics for the manufacturing of products – Designation. This layouts the guidelines for identification and classification of recycled plastics materials (that is ready for normal use without any further modifications)on the basis of its basic properties and applications. A copy of the document is available here.

Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016 , India

The government of India, through the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the new Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 (through a Gazette notification dated 18 March 2016). This supersedes the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 that governed such activities earlier.

This provides the framework for how plastic waste generators, local bodies, manufacturers, importers etc.,to manage plastic waste. The full document can be accessed here.  Also, the ministry has put out two other useful documents that highlights what is new in the rules and some of its salient features

Some highlights of the PWM Rules 2016 are

  • The 2011 rules applied only to the municipal areas, whereas, the 2016 rules shall apply to every waste generator, local body, Gram Panchayat, manufacturer, Importers, and producer. For example, now, waste generators including individual and bulk generators like offices, commercial establishments, industries are to segregate the plastic waste at source and handover the segregated waste. Even persons organizing public events like marriages, religious gatherings, public meetings etc., have been made responsible for management of the waste generated at these events.
  • The minimum thickness of the carry bags (made of virgin or recycled plastic) has been increased from forty to fifty microns
  • Extended Producer Responsibility: Earlier, EPR was left to the discretion of the local bodies. Now, the producers (i.e persons engaged in manufacture, or import of carry bags, multi-layered packaging and sheets or like and the persons using these for packaging or wrapping their products) and brand owners have been made responsible for collecting waste generated from their products. They have to approach local bodies for formulation of plan/system for the plastic waste management within the prescribed time frame
  • Plastic waste, which can be recycled, shall be channelized to registered plastic waste recycler and recycling of plastic shall conform to the Indian Standard: IS 14534:1998 (for details, see above)

USFDA Guidance

USFDA has released a document titled ‘Guidance for Industry: Use of Recycled Plastics in Food Packaging: Chemistry Considerations’ (Aug 2006), that outlines the FDA’s current thinking and recommends issues that a manufacturer of recycled plastic consider during the manufacturer’s evaluation of a recycling process for producing material suitable for food-contact applications This document can be accessed in its full here.

EU Regulation

The European Union, after consulting the European Food Safety Authority, issued the Commission Regulation (EC) No 282/2008 of 27 March 2008 on recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods. The html and pdf version of the full document are available.