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Buying bottled water will now cost you ₹1 more in Maharashtra

The state government has come up with the refundable recycling charge to encourage collection of used bottles

mumbai Updated: Mar 17, 2018 14:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Customers that buy plastic bottles of water will be charged a Re1 recycling fee, which will be refunded if the bottle is returned to the shopkeeper.(Representational photo)

In a U-turn from its earlier position, the Maharashtra government has decided not to ban plastic or PET and PETE bottles in the state.

Instead, the government has come up with a refundable recycling charge to encourage collection of used bottles, mandating the manufacturers to set up recycling plants within the next three months. It has, however, clarified the units found flouting the rule even after the deadline will be shut down.

For consumers, refundable recycling charge means they will have to pay extra one rupee while buying a mineral water bottle. The consumer will get the money back if he or she returns the bottle to the shopkeeper.

The state has introduced a similar scheme for milk pouches. In this scheme, the consumer will have to pay extra 50 paise for a milk pouch. The consumer will get the money back if they return the pouch.

“The idea is to create a chain of recollection of bottles and recycle them. This can be done by bringing in some kind of scheme. With the refundable recycling charge, we want to promote collection of used bottles. At the same time, we have also mandated the manufacturers to set up recycling units so all bottles can be collected and recycled,” said Ramdas Kadam, state environment minister.

The PET and PETE bottles manufacturers have also been barred to use Bisphenol A also known as BPA while manufacturing bottles. “Bisphenol is being widely used to make the bottles shine and tougher. It is a synthetic organic compound and is harmful for the human body,” the minister said.

The state government has also decided to impose a recycle or reuse charge of Re1 for manufacturing each bottle on the manufacturers. The amount will be refunded if they show the number of bottles recollected. Goods and Services Tax (GST) commissionerate will collect the recycle charge from the manufacturers, he said.

Satish Gavai, additional chief secretary, environment department, said shopkeepers will get a refund for collecting bottles from manufacturers. “We are also trying to make it a cross-brand scheme so shopkeepers won’t hesitate from collecting bottles of other brands,” Gavai said.

Hiten Bheda, president, All India Plastic Manufacturers Association, said that they are in shock as the state government’s approach is not realistic. “We don’t believe in ban and were trying to convince the state government about other options available. The decision is harsh and will result in rise of corruption. The real solution to the problem was to implement the plastic waste management rules properly by taking all stakeholders — right from manufacturers to consumers on board,” Bheda said.

Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, said their major concern is the stock of plastic bags lying with manufacturers and shopkeepers. The other concern is of small retailers and provision stores in the state as there are no cheap alternative to plastic bags and government has failed to provide substitute product which is reasonably priced.

First Published: Mar 17, 2018 13:04 IST