Government announces ban on single-use plastics from July 2022, industry screams foul

Three years after banning thin polyethylene carrier bags, the government announced on Thursday a phased ban on single-use plastics up to 120 microns thick from July 2022.

In June 2018, the government announced a ban on single-use plastics up to 50 micrometers thick. This means that thin carrier bags with a load capacity of up to 1 kg have been withdrawn from use in any form.

The notice published on Thursday now mentions the ban on the use of single-use plastics from July 1, 2022 and the increase in the thickness of polyethylene bags from 50 microns to 120 microns. To be implemented in stages.

“The manufacture, import, storage, distribution, sale and use of single-use plastic such as earphones, plastic sticks, balloons, plastic flags, candy and ice cream sticks will be banned from July 1, 2022,” the statement said.

In the first phase, polyethylene bags thinner than 75 microns will be banned from September 30th and bags thinner than 120 microns from December 31, 2022.

Interestingly, perhaps for the first time since banning single-use plastics in 2015, the government shared its definition. “In the notification, single-use plastics are identified as those that should be used once before disposal or recycling. According to information from the industry, around 40 percent of the plastics that were once used remained uncollected and thus remained in the environment to pollute the soil, water and air.

The news surprised the plastics manufacturers. “We recommended that the government limit the ban to a thickness of 80 micrometers. But the government had risen to its original level of 120 microns. Plastics producers who can produce articles with a thickness of up to 80 micrometers would now have to modernize their systems and machines, which requires high investments. We survived two waves of Covid. This notification is therefore another shock to plastics manufacturers, “Chandrakant Turakhia, president of the All India Plastics Manufacturers Association (AIPMA) told Polymerupdate.

AIPMA convened a meeting of various associations and industry stakeholders on Saturday to discuss a final call on the next steps to be taken in connection with the notification.

“We will definitely be represented vis-à-vis the government. Although full implementation of the notification is approximately 16 months away, we will discuss the issue with the plastics association and dispatch our representation taking into account all aspects including finance, human resources, capital investment and machine modernization ”, Deepak Lawale, General Secretary, Organization of Plastics Processors of India ( OPPI) told Polymer Update.

“A blanket ban on single-use plastics would be counterproductive, as plastic products have found their way into all facets of our lives. But every single stakeholder in the value chain must take responsibility until the single-use plastics reach their destination at the nearby recycling facility, “said Prem Kankaria, Managing Director, Raj Packaging Industries Ltd., during an Assocham webinar.

He emphasized the need to develop a biodegradable, sustainable and recyclable product for long-term growth. Otherwise, the single-use plastic will be difficult to survive, added Kankaria.

Sources said most of the single-use plastics manufacturers are disorganized players in the sector and belong to the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) category. Since then, these units have suffered a lot over the past two years of the Covid pandemic. Implementing a thickness rule would force them to close their stores and opt for an alternative store, they added.

Speaking to Polymerupdate, Sameer Joshi, owner of Knoesis Enterprises, a Pune-based polymer maker who participated in the government round to ban plastics, said, “The government has given single-use plastic manufacturers enough time to upgrade their equipment and machinery, and so hold on the guidelines for increased thicknesses. “

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