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Plastic industry manufacturers demand clarity on single-use plastic ban from government, state concern regarding job loss

The dilemma has led to the shutting down of over 10,000 units, with the plastic industry gazing at 4.5 lakh people losing jobs ahead of the Diwali season.

India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste yearly, out of which 40% remains ungathered, and 43% is used for packaging, most of which is single-use plastic, as reported by TOI.

According to ET, the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association has requested the state to issue distinct guidelines on its short-term and long-term plans for the gradual elimination of single-use plastic ban. The company asked the government to give clarity on its implementation plans for the plastic ban by 2022. The firm believes that a sudden ban would lead to job losses, escalated costs, and would disrupt supply chains.

Jayesh Rambhia, co-chairman of environment committee at All India Plastic Manufacturers Association, said that the incertitude has led to the shutting down of over 10,000 units with the plastic sector gazing at 4.5 lakh people losing jobs ahead of the Diwali season.

India’s plastic-processing industry comprises of over 50,000 units with annual revenue at Rs 3.5 lakh crore in FY’19, AIPMA stated in a report. Another report issued by the Central Pollution Control Board said that India generated 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste per day in FY’18, out of which 60% was recycled while the rest remained uncollected.

Government’s decentralized efforts to curb plastic

Surprisingly, the government did not issue a ban on single-use plastic bags, small plastic bottles, plates, cups, straws, and a specific type of sachets on 2nd October, which was highly expected. The action is expected to slash down 5-10% of India’s annual consumption of 14 million tonnes of plastic.

Different states have been carrying and formulating their own set of policies to tackle the environment degeneration caused by plastic havoc. Plastic ban in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh has prohibited the usage, possession, and production of the single-use plastic products, including plates, cups, cutlery, and straws along with forbidden usage of plastic bags. In total, 18 states have banned plastic bags so far. The government, however, is yet to define single-use plastic.

In September, CAIT launched a nationwide campaign among the trading community to encourage them to “Say No to Plastic” to deal with the rapidly increasing adverse impact of plastic pollution on the environment.

Reports issued Telegraph states that even the most durable plastic items like plastic bottles, disposable nappies, and beer holders can take over 450 years to decompose. Other single-use plastic items like straws can take up to 200 years, while foam plastic cups can take up to 50 years to biodegrade.

Reducing plastic packaging measures by e-commerce platforms

The Indian government has asked the e-commerce platforms to go green with reduced usage of single-use plastic for packaging of its products. According to PTI, the commerce and industry ministry advised e-commerce firms to phase out single-use plastic in product packaging with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, suggesting to develop and witch to sustainable packaging material.

An Amazon spokesperson told that the company had been working relentlessly on reducing single-use plastic in its supply chain, claiming that the firm’s packaging material consists of less than 7% single-use plastic. The company is working towards eliminating the usage of plastic in its buildings in India by June 2022.

In August, Flipkart announced that it had achieved a 25% reduction in single-use plastic because of the various initiatives introduced across its packaging value chain. The firm added that it plans to introduce eco-friendly paper shreds, replacing poly pouches with recycled paper bags and bubble wraps & airbags with carton waste shredded material.