April 20, 2024
Home » Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2024
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Introduction: New Rules on Biodegradable Plastics in India

Recently, the Environment Ministry of India has implemented updated rules regarding the labeling of disposable plastic products as ‘biodegradable’. These rules aim to ensure stricter criteria for determining the biodegradability of such products.

Understanding Biodegradable and Compostable Plastics

Biodegradable and compostable plastics are two main types of solutions developed to tackle plastic waste pollution. Biodegradable plastics are treated to decompose naturally over time, while compostable plastics require specialized facilities for degradation.

New Definition of Biodegradable Plastics

The amended Plastic Waste Management Rules now define biodegradable plastics as those that not only degrade in specific environments like soil or landfills but also leave no microplastics behind. However, specific testing methods for microplastic absence are yet to be defined.

Challenges for Manufacturers

Manufacturers face challenges in meeting the new standards, especially regarding microplastic content. As microplastics can originate from various sources, a comprehensive standard is necessary, encompassing both compostable and biodegradable plastics.

Microplastics and Pollution

Microplastics, tiny plastic particles insoluble in water, have become a significant environmental concern, polluting rivers and oceans. The focus on biodegradable plastics intensified after India’s ban on single-use plastics in 2022, urging the adoption of environmentally friendly alternatives.

Confusion Over Biodegradable Plastic Standards

There’s ambiguity surrounding the standards for biodegradable plastics, leaving many manufacturers uncertain. The Central Pollution Control Board’s criteria for certifying biodegradability, requiring a 90% degradation over two years, has caused issues for some manufacturers whose products degrade at different rates. Clarification on certification standards is crucial for industry compliance.

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