Dismissing reports of resistance from the industry to migrate to a single use plastic (SUP) ban scenario from July 1, the Centre on Tuesday said that it has constantly been in touch with e-commerce companies, FMCG sector and other industry houses on the issue and that all of them are cooperating and majority of them are game with the date.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has announced to ban manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified SUP items that have low utility and high littering potential all across the country from July 1.
The list identifies 14 items prominently used widely across India. These include plastic wrappings that are mostly used by e-commerce companies for packaging.
As per the details as on June 22 obtained from the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and the Pollution Control Committees (PCCs), there are about 683 units that have a manufacturing capacity of 2.44 lakh tonnes per annum (TPA) and operational capacity of 2.34 lakh TPA.
The government said it had issued the notification to ban SUP in August 2021 and given ample time for such units, and therefore, as of last week, there were 433 units for which the consent (to operate) was either revoked or modified.
There are some FMCGs or even dairy product businesses that have sought a delay in implementing this ban citing multiple reasons, including increased cost and availability of alternatives.
Speaking to mediapersons on Tuesday, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said, “We had given ample time from last year (August 2021) to the producers to migrate to new machines and also for the industry in general to look for alternatives. On the other hand, we have also enabled production of alternatives through the Micro, Small & Medium Entrepreneurs (MSME) sector. Plus, we have a plan laid out for 10 years, a first for itself.”
Yadav also said that there would not be any shifting of the date, as majority are on board.
The Ministry had earlier issued directions to the e-commerce companies regarding phasing out the identified items.
“After the first meeting with e-commerce companies last year, we had another meeting earlier this year. Since then, we have been constantly in touch with them; the companies are participating in the meetings with the state pollution control board meetings,” said Tanmay Kumar, Chairperson of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
He also confirmed, none of them have sought time to delay the ban, and not all are resisting. Scores of industrial units/business houses are indeed working in tandem with the government since last year, he said.
“The decision (to ban SUP from July 1) might impact a lot of players in the FMCG ecosystem and business. Speaking for ourselves, our major snack packs are not made up of single use plastic, so they might not get affected much. We use packaging material for our snack packs which can be later recycled. As of now, shrink wrap is being used for our sweet packs and with the upcoming regulations, we are looking for alternatives,” said Manish Aggarwal, Director, Bikano, Bikanervala Foods Pvt Ltd.