Close to five months after a notification banning plastic bags and single-use plastic items was issued, the state environment department is yet to put in place a buyback mechanism for milk pouches. The department plans to convene a meeting in this regard soon. Sources in the environment department said the farmers’ agitation last month sought a hike in milk procurement rates and the buyback mechanism would be another challenge for them.
So far, the department has not held a single meeting with the dairies on the implementation of the buyback scheme. “There is a view to wait for sometime of this. We will soon convene a meeting with the dairies on the issue,” said an official from the department. An official from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board said dairies normally keep the three to six months’ stock of milk pouches.
“So, an assessment of their stock needs to be carried out. We will now ask the dairies to submit a plan and then we will take a call on it,” added the official. As per the notification issued by the environment department on March 23, dairies should use plastic bags, not less than 50-micron thickness, for the packaging.
It should print a buyback price, not less than Rs 0.50, to develop a mechanism for recycling. The dairies were expected to set up a buyback mechanism by July 11. Prakash Kutwal, the secretary, Milk Producers and Processors’ Welfare Association, said the dairies do not have expertise in setting up a buyback mechanism. “The government is acting in a one-sided manner and must hold consultations with us to guide us on the issue,” said Kutwal.