TWENTY DAYS after the state government issued a notification banning various single-use plastic items, the Maharashtra Environment department on Wednesday removed the ban on less than 0.5 litre plastic bottles and also extended the deadline from one month to three for disposal of existing banned items for consumers, retailers, traders and manufacturers. It also means that users or customers will not be fined for three months, said officials.
The Environment department issued a notification on Wednesday for making these amendments in the plastic ban that came into effect on March 23, banning all plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items along with a scheme for plastic bottles and milk pouches.
“PET/PETE bottles having liquid holding capacity of 1 litre or more and of less than 1 litre will have printed on the body of the bottle the buyback price of Re 1 and Rs 2 respectively,” says the notification. Earlier, the state government had banned the usage, purchase, sale, distribution and storage of PET and PETE bottles having ‘liquid holding capacity’ less than 0.5 litre in the state.
Officials from the Environment department said PET or PETE bottle manufacturers, producers, sellers and traders have been asked to develop the ‘buy back depository mechanism’ with predefined buy back price printed on it under the ‘Extended Producers and Sellers/Traders Responsibility’.
“They have also been asked to set up collection centres, reverse vending machines, crushing machines with linkages established with recycling units, to collect and recycle such PET or PETE bottles in three months at strategic places including malls, multiplexes, hotels, shops, tourist places, beaches, forts and public places,” said an official.
The official further said that three months time would help in setting up the buy back and recycling mechanisms of the banned plastic items. “After the mechanism is in place for buy back and recycling, then we will start taking action on the violators,” added the official.