A new rule drafted by the environment ministry will make it mandatory for food and beverage makers to collect used plastic bags and bottles. Manufacturers will have to set up collection mechanisms across the country.
“Even gutka sachets will be covered,” a member of the committee for framing new rules to regulate plastics in India said. “Rules will be comprehensive to cover multi-layered plastic used for chips packets, plastic beverage bottles, biscuit wrappers and anything else in plastic.”
This is in lieu of not imposing a complete ban on use of plastic for packaging consumer goods. The ministry is not in favour of such a ban.
The manufacturers with the help of municipal bodies can either set up plastic collection centres across cities or give financial incentives to retailers to collect end of the life plastic waste. “The plastic waste can be used for manufacturing stronger board and roads,” said an official of the Indian Institution of Packaging.
A senior ministry official said the idea of the new rules is to discourage large-scale use of plastic, rather than a ban, and impose financial disincentives for the same.
The new rules will also stipulate the responsibility of plastic manufacturers, local municipal bodies and state pollution control boards in controlling the environmental menace of plastics, which cause for sewer choking and animal deaths.
“It will take two to three years to put the entire mechanism in place,” the official said.