The Commerce Ministry is likely to come out with strict norms for SEZ units engaged in recycling of plastic next week in wake of the Environment Ministry’s concern on illegal import of the hazardous waste. Businesses interested in setting up new plastic recycling units in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), would have to invest a minimum of Rs 1 crore in plant and machinery and export 80 per cent of the turnover by the fifth year of their operations.

At present, the government does not consider fresh proposals for such units.

The Commerce Ministry is also of the view that the existing plastic waste recycling units should export 50 per cent of their turnover.

Currently, units are permitted to supply goods to domestic tariff area (DTA).

“The quantum of sale in the DTA can be gradually reduced…and they (units) should gradually increase physical exports to the level of 50 per cent of their total turnover in the 5th year,” the draft policy for setting up of units for recycling of plastics in SEZs stated.

Besides, all units would have to comply with the environment laws.

The inter-ministerial Board of Approval (BoA) headed by Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar is likely to finalise rules for plastic recycling units on July 13, an official said.

Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh had recently sought assistance of Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma for improving the implementations of the Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling and Trans boundary Movement) Rules 2008.

“I would request you …(to) issue necessary instructions so that the challenge of tackling illegal import of hazardous wastes into the country can be effectively addressed,” Ramesh letter to Sharma read.

The Environment Ministry has apprehensions that certain EoUs (export oriented units) and units in SEZs handling wastes were operating without the mandatory consent and authourisation.

However, SEZ units claim they comply with the law. The proposal also seeks changes in certain European regulations to ease imports of plastic wastes.

European countries are the largest exporters of the waste to India, which along with China is the primary recycler of plastic waste.

Recycled plastic is used in manufacturing sheets, bags, tarpaulin, agricultural pipes. Most waste is generated in developed countries the average per capita consumption in the US is 22 kg, Europe 19 kg, while it is only 6 kg in India.

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