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A webinar on the Plastic Credit Model in India

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United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) Japan, Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC), 3R WASTE foundation and All India Institute of Local Self Government organised a webinar on the Plastic credit model. Several industry stakeholders from waste management, recycling, credit system practitioners and academicians shared their perspectives on the desired plastic credit model for India.  The webinar aimed at conceptualizing a simple, realistic and robust credit mechanism in India, which is currently the need of the hour. Key stakeholders & participants with diverse expertise contributed to an in-depth and highly insightful discussion on robust design and development of such credit mechanisms.

The Plastic Credit Model is a mechanism to bring an ethical and sustainable solution to the plastic pollution problem. It’s one of the effective procedures to accelerate removal or recycling excess plastic waste from the environment. The companies carrying out Plastic Waste Management of different categories of plastics beyond the fulfilment of targets, can generate credits based on the quantum of the plastics processed by them. These credits can then be traded with other PIBOs in exchange of a price, to help them fulfil their obligation or at times to meet their plastic neutrality goals.

Session moderator Dr. Kulwant Singh, Former Regional Advisor Asia UN-HABITAT and the CEO of 3R WASTE Foundation, introduced the panelists with rich perspectives and experience in the field of plastic waste management, plastic credits, EPR, circular economy, 3R and many more. The eminent panelists were Mr. Choudhury Rudra Charan Mohanty, Environment Programme Coordinator, UNCRD DSDG/UNDESA, Ms. Sahithi Snigdha, Director, Waste Ventures India, Mr. Kamal Raj, Director, Impact Projects, Repurpose, Ms. Komal Sinha, Director, Plastic and Sustainable Development Policy and Markets, Verra, Nik Supatravanij, Program Manager, Second Life, Bangkok, Mr. Amit Jain, Managing Director, IRG Systems, South Asia Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Mangesh Gupte, Chief Operation Officer, AARC, Dr. Suneel Pandey, Senior Director, TERI, India, Mr. Aniket Gavas, Shakti Plastics and Dr. Praveen Aggarwal, CEO, AARC

Mr. CRC Mohanty, Environment Programme Coordinator of UNCRD DSDG/UNDESA in his keynote address explained the significance of the circular economy in the current context. He appealed that the circular economy should not be restricted only into waste domain conservations, but linked to resource management and eventually looking at resource security. And a simple to implement plastic credit system will go a long way in enabling a circular economy.

Mr. Mangesh Gupte, COO, AARC, emphasized on the need of plastic credits for small players in different geographies who may not have enough capacity or bandwidth to implement EPR on their own. Highlighted the learnings for carbon credit & palm oil credit system which can be incorporated in the plastic credit system.

Mr. Amit Jain, Managing Director, IRG Systems, South Asia Pvt. Ltd. explained the connection between circularity and sustainability. He advised that plastic credit should be easy to- understand, interpret, and finance, which is in sync with CPBC’s online EPR portal and what should be the trading mechanism.

Ms. Komal Sinha, Director, Plastic and Sustainable Development Policy and Markets, Verra, discussed the standards and trading for waste plastics. She articulated the key attributes of the plastic credits system. She also mentioned that material that is non-recyclable should get only collection credit and material which is recyclable, should be recycled and should be issued recyclable credit.

Dr. Suneel Pandey, Senior Director, TERI, spoke about challenges in implementation of credit systems and the need to distinguish between easy to collect and recycle and difficult to collect and recycle plastics in the credit systems. He reiterated the need for transparency, and end to end digital centralized transaction platforms.

Mr. Nik Supatravanij, Programme Manager, Second Life Plastics, explained about the gap between costs incurred in collection of plastics and one that is currently recovered. He explained the success factors of Caudalie case study in Thailand Coastal regions of Ranong and Krabi and insights from Thailand experience to design the Indian Credit Model could be captured.

Dr. Praveen Aggarwal, CEO of AARC, reaffirmed that our country by default has a single registry; as every EPR player and plastics related stakeholder have to register via CPCB centralized portal. This ensures that data on manufacturers, brand owners or Plastic Waste Processors is synchronized with plastic collection and recycling quantities. We need to have a system which specifies the credit of all five categories of the plastics, i.e., 1) PET or PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate), 2) Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), 3) Polypropylene (PP), 4) High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and 5) Poly Vinyl Polyethylene. As per the PWM rules, as and also for 3 types of targets each for collection, recycling and reuse. As the CPCB issues the registration number, mapping the data on plastic credits to the same portal will be meaningful. He recognised two key aspects of additionality. 1) any additional collection and recycling beyond compliance targets should be regarded for plastic credits. 2) So also, if any entity reduces the burden of nature bound plastic

All the panelists expressed that the plastic credit system should create impact, and impact should be verified. This also means that there should be transparency, preventing any paper transactions and the real work should happen on ground. While the EPR space & plastics management eco-system in the country is evolving and formalizing, an early robust & effective plastic credit system can speed up India’s effort to achieve plastic goals was recognised.

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