Will Plastic Ban Affect Food Industries?

4 April, 2018


 In a series of Clean India Mission use of plastics and thermacol is banned in Maharashtra. State government in its recent orders said that all types of plastic packaging items have been restricted from sale, use and manufacturing. Decision has said to come as cities of Maharashtra have suffered blocked drains results in floods.

The ban is applicable in the whole state of Maharashtra for manufacture, usage, transport, distribution, wholesale, retail sale and storage, and thermocol decoration, plastic bags regardless of thickness, non-woven polythene and disposable products made from plastic such as spoon, fork, bowl, glasses, plates have been banned by the government. Ban applies even on street food sellers, cinema halls, restaurants, railways, public places, places of worship, grocery shops etc.

The Govt. will impose fine of minimum Rs 5,000 and if further mutilated the offence can fine Rs 25,000 and three months of jail, the act against the offenders has been divided into two parts. The first is a synthesize offence, by which the offender has admitted to have violated the law and will be fined accordingly. The second type is when the offender does not admit the violation, they will be taken to local police station and a case will be registered against them.

 Food Industry Manufacturers are emphasized considering the plastic ban. Plastic ban may lead to loss of capital and resources for food processing industries. Government has provided a month for manufacturers, producers, sellers, traders, retailers, and users to finish the existing stock of banned items. They may either hand it over to the local government body for scientific disposal or through sale to an authorized recycler.

Firoz .H. Naqvi of Federation of Sweet Namkeen Manufacturers (FSNM), had discussed with, “All India Plastic Manufacturers association,” “Indian Instituite of Packaging,” and with President, of Federation of Sweet Namkeen Manufacturers, Virendra Jain, Rajendra Agarwal, Haldiram Nagpur, and  Ajit Mota of Mota chips.

“All India Plastics Manufacturers Association (AIPMA) has assured that they are already taking all necessary measures to protect the rights of packers and taking all opinions”, said Naqvi.

 AIPMA raised strong opposition to it. They said it adversely impacted their business and also the state’s economy as the ban would affect other industries too.

 According to the AIPMA, the plastic ban will result in a loss of Rs 5,000 crore to the plastics industry. It also said at least four lakh people would lose their employment, with 2,150 plastic industrial units shutting down in the state. This will mean a loss of Rs 800 crore to the government in the form of GST revenue.

Harshit Mehta – President of the Thermoformers and Allied Industries said that the government has given time of three to four months to manufacturers of plastic bottles therefore similar time should also be given to those engaged in manufacturing plastic bags etc. There are over 3,000 manufacturers of plastic bags in Maharashtra. The manufacturers are prepared to participate in Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) to ensure that no plastic garbage is seen on the streets.

“The use of paper bags will automatically encourage cutting of trees. Any new activity will require more water. The government should think about all these issues, before implementing the ban”, added Mehta.

As per newly imposed ban customers will have to pay buyback price for the polythene of milk bags and water bottles. Milk dairies, retail sellers and traders will have to ensure such payback price printed on it and  recycling and collection must be establish within three months from the date of notification.

 Consumers will be charged with 50 paisa and one rupee that will be refundable when customers return the milk pouches and water bottles for recycling. PET or PETE bottles must have less than 0.5 liters holding capacity and there must be a buy back deposit scheme price of Rs 1 and 2 on the bottles also to set up collection and recycling units within three months from the date of notification.

“Milk pouches over 50 microns thick, processed food wrappers, plastic used to cover medicines, forest and horticulture products, solid waste, tree saplings and the use of plastic for export purposes would be exempted from the ban”, said Ramdas Kadam State Environment Minister.

 An official from environment board said that decision is yet to be taken on plastic containers that are used for food parcels and other services. It will be clear when the notification is issued.

 The manufacturers or seller of compostable plastic carry bags shall obtain a certificate from the Central Pollution Board before marketing or selling for purpose. The decision of plastic ban may affect the employment of India as the ban will completely or moderately pressurize the industries to change its packaging.

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