July 18, 2018
The plastic ban in Maharashtra may help China to flourish in green industry. Reason behind this is the opportunity the traders are grapping to import eco-friendly alternatives to plastic products in bulk from China, in order to cater to the demands of the consumers. The total revenue of the state packaging industry is estimated at Rs. 15,000 crore.
Plastic traders are placing orders for Chinese products like wine steerer, butter knife, plates, spoons, containers, forks… that are environment friendly. “We will surely able to replace plastic items with the eco-friendly products from China, for which consumers should be ready to pay little more. One China-made eco-friendly spoon will cost Rs. 2 against earlier 30 paise for a plastic spoon. Similarly, the rate of a China-made eco-friendly plate will be Rs. 3 against 50 paise for a plastic plate. The alternatives cost more,” said Rajesh Malde, a plastic trader from Matunga.
Malde said traders are concerned about local consumers, who are used to paying small prices for the above mentioned items. “Affluent people can easily afford these but the poor and the lower middle class will face trouble. They have to push their budget while buying these China made items. We had no options but to import these items to sustain in the market,” Malde said.
Sanjay Shah, president of Flexible Packaging Industry and Traders Association, said that China will, directly and indirectly, benefit from the Rs. 15,000 crore packaging market in Maharashtra alone. “Most of our traders and packaging materials manufacturer have decided not to make any further investment in Maharashtra and in India too because of constant changes in policies. These changes can cost us heavily. Therefore, it is better to wait and watch. In the meanwhile, China is likely to grab the market and get the benefit of the market. Buyers will not wait for us and will buy the alternatives and reasonable products in the market. This ban on the use of plastic items will boost China’s economy,” Shah said.
Shah also pointed out that plastic recycling plants are active wherever plastic is being used. “In China itself, there are 600 plastic recycling plants, while in India we can hardly see the six plants the country has. This is the irony because of which we are in trouble today without being at fault,” Shah added.