WHILE A state government-appointed committee has accepted the proposal recommending that plastic packaging by retailers be allowed with certain riders, norms for industrial-level packaging have been tightened. Industrial manufacturers have been asked to use minimum 20 per cent recyclable plastic material and mandatorily print manufacturer details and buyback price, among other things on the bags.
An official from the state Environment Department said it was proposed that plastic above 50 microns and packaging material with minimum 20 per cent recyclable plastic material (except for food) should be allowed. Besides, it was proposed that details about the manufacturer, the type of plastic used and buyback price should be on the packaging material (except for export purposes), the official added.
The conditions were not included in the original notification of plastic ban issued on March 23, said the official. “Since plastic below 50 microns is already banned, we have put a condition on using plastic of higher thickness. Also, to encourage recycling, we have made it mandatory for them to use minimum 20 per cent recycled plastic. The plastic manufacturers and their associations should work out a mechanism for collection and recycling of plastic waste,” the official added. The official said similar conditions have been proposed for retail packaging. “Except the use of 20 per cent recycled plastic material, the conditions such as using plastic above 50 microns and a minimum weight of 2 grams, name of the manufacturer, type of plastic and buyback price remain the same. Plastic manufacturers and retailers should fix some buyback price for the plastic bags,” added the official.
The Plastic Manufacturing Industry has welcomed the government’s proposed modifications to the ban. “It is a welcome move by the government to allow retail and industrial packaging with a few conditions. We will find a way to print buyback price on plastic packaging and may appoint an agency for collection of plastic items for recycling,” said Neemit Punamiya, general secretary, Plastic Bag Manufacturers Association of India. He added that the norms for industrial and retail packaging would not increase the cost.
Meanwhile, the state government has proposed, in case of multi-layered packaging, using single-layer plastic with other layers under its ambit. If manufacturers don’t go for recyclable plastic packaging and don’t set up mechanisms for recollection and recycling, it would be banned after three months, said an official.