Top Beverage Manufacturers Fined Heavily For Irresponsible Plastic Waste Disposal
The top beverage makers in the country are going to have to pay heavily for not living up to their bargain of owning up to pressing environmental concerns. We are referring to the government’s recent rule where the manufacturer is needed to be conscious about the consumer responsibly disposing of away plastic waste.
Under the scanner are top brands like Bisleri, Pepsico India Holdings, and Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages, who each have been heavily fined for not adhering to the proposed rules of the ‘extended producer responsibility’ (EPR) released by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change.
While Biserli has been penalized Rs. 10.75 crores, Hindustan Coco Cola Beverages was fined Rs. 8.7 crore and Pepsico has been fined Rs. 50.66 crore. All these companies have been granted a period of 15 days to remit the penalty and adhere to the set down rules.
As of September 2020, many companies are not adhering to the guidelines set down on the EPR. Under the EPR, the financial and/or physical onus shifts to the manufacturers when it comes to the treatment, recycling, reuse or disposal of products after a consumer has used and disposed of them. By manufacturers, we are referring to all plastic producers, importers and even brand-owners.
Until 2012, the EPR was concerned with electronic waste only. By 2016, it was extended to all plastic related waste as well. The draft rules create a complete mechanism of accountability, something that will help, in conscious waste management across the nation. Under the draft rules, manufacturers are offered three options to show their accountability towards end user disposal. It starts with paying a fee into a central corpus that would then be spent towards managing the waste, or buying credits from a system that would be established to offset the plastic waste they generate; or further still to participate in and pay for establishing producer responsibility organisations (PROs) to collect and manage post-consumer plastic waste.
The draft rules propose to give manufacturers five years to achieve waste management targets, starting with 30% and moving up to 90% in the fifth year after the rules are notified. All stakeholders involved in the waste management process–producers, civic bodies, collectors, recyclers, etc.–would be registered with a new national registry through an online portal.
Of all the three, Coke has been the smartest to show records of how it has collected more than it has littered. It has shown documents to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that proves that it has in fact cleared 4,417.78 tonnes of plastic waste for the period of January to September 2020 as against an EPR target of 1,05,744 tonnes. Bisleri, on the other hand, received a similar notice from CPCB which stated that it had not submitted the requisite quarterly reports and documents to prove it had done its job in responsible plastic waste management.
PepsiCo was fined for not submitting QPRs for all the plastic waste it said it has collected. The three companies have each been fined Rs 5,000 per ton of plastic waste introduced by them, for which EPR liability has not been fulfilled for the period under consideration.