Digitization for monitoring EPR is an effective and tactical approach to ease the difficulty accompanied by processes involved in each stage of EPR. Several states have already digitized the EPR data on several collection centers, several working waste management agencies, several ULBs engaged, the number of Producers registered and complying with EPR, and the amount of plastic waste managed with disposal methods.
Since now the responsibility has been extended to the producers in such a way that they have to take responsibility for the management of disposal of their products, such responsibility of disposal can be physical, fiscal, or a combination of both.
The shift of responsibility by the EPR Policy India includes economic, social, and environmental factors:
- The economic shift is that now the cost of disposal has been shifted from the Government to the producer of such product.
- For environmental shift, the products designed by the producers are recyclable and use fewer toxic materials in the products.
- The products now designed are environmentally friendly, using more recycled materials or recyclable materials
Why digitization is needed in the EPR domain?
- Lack of Awareness: The first EPR guidelines in India were introduced in 2016 and most companies were unable to achieve their EPR goals until 2020 owing to a lack of awareness, even when the complete responsibility of ERP had been shifted to the shoulders of the industry.
- Lack of Expertise: There is an absence of domain knowledge about the plastic business in the informal sector when it comes to the collection and disposal of post-consumer plastic waste.
- Lack of Accurate Data: The amount of waste being generated is not accurately measured because the policymakers are faced with the challenge of carefully monitoring and evolving the rules/guidelines to overcome loopholes. As a result, additional challenges about administration, infrastructure, policies, and other issues can arise.
- Not a core activity: For most companies, plastic waste collection and waste management is not a key business activity that includes building a network of municipalities, scrap dealers, recyclers, and co-processors.
- Trouble in the documentation: The registration formality for EPR is a time-consuming process and demands a long list of documents. There are difficulties faced during the documentation of EPR since there needs to be documentation as proof of EPR implementation. Also, there is great difficulty in understanding the documentation sequence.
The role of Technology in EPR domain:
Online platform act as digital backbone for the implementation of EPR. With the help of innovative, reliable and scalable technologies:
- It helps to convert the informal, offline, disconnected waste management sector into one where there is increased information, communication, increased recycling and lesser waste reaching landfills.
- It will be able to bridge the digital divide and thereby ensure a movement towards achieving a circular economy.
- It allows tracking and monitoring of EPR obligations and reduces the compliance burden for companies through online registration and filing of annual returns.
- With the emergence of online platforms, it helps to connect a large number of waste generators, aggregators, and recyclers.
- It ensures that waste generators, aggregators, and recyclers are no longer bound to transact with the few actors that exist in their proximity. With a large number of buyers and sellers, the market becomes more competitive and transparent and hence is likely to generate more efficient prices.
- An online mechanism helps to ensure transactions and documentation do not require paperwork. Thereby ensuring greater speed as well as compliance.
- It also provides real-time tracking of the waste to ensure greater transparency. This helps firms get real-time data regarding what portion of their EPR targets have already been met, the amount that is left, and also information regarding the geographic location of waste management