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Maharashtra plastic ban: Officials confused about recyclable packaging

Pollution control board, which is the implementing authority of the ban, will ask experts to identify non­-recyclable items.

mumbai Updated: Jul 04, 2018 14:26 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra plastic ban,Mumbai,recyclable packaging
BMC officials inspect shops near JJ Hospital for banned plastic.(Hemanshi Kamani/ HT Photo)

Even as the state government has decided to ban non-recyclable multi-layer packaging used by fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies with immediate effect, officials do not know what type of packets and wrappers comes under the category. The packing is used for branded snacks, shampoo sachets, toothpaste tubes and other products.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), the implementing authority of the ban, said the manufacturers will have to prove that the multi-layer packaging used is recyclable.

There is no institution in the country that certifies that the multi-layer packaging is recyclable or not. Hence, the FMCG companies will be asked to self-certify that the multi-layer packaging used by them is recyclable.

The MPCB will rope in experts such as Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) to conduct a study on recyclable and or non-recyclable multi-layer packaging. This will take months.

On Monday, the state government decided to bring unrecyclable multi-layer packaging under its purview. It has allowed recyclable multi-layer packaging on the condition that manufacturers follow Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) — rules laid down under Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 issued by Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). This will ensure that plastic waste is collected and recycled. “We are trying to follow the MoEFCC rules , that mandates that the non-recyclable plastic must be phased out in two years,” said a senior official from state environment department.

P Anbalagan, member secretary of MPCB, said they would ask the FMCG firms to self-certify and prove that the multi-layer material used by them can be recycled. “We will also rope in institutions to conduct a study on multi-layer packaging and identify how many are non-recyclable. Based on the report, the nonrecyclable ones would be banned,” said Anbalagan.

The firms using recyclable multi-layer packaging will have to follow EPR. To ensure this, an inventory of each of the firm will be formed. “We will train MPCB officials and urban local bodies and conduct random checks,” added Anbalagan.

Hiten Bheda, president of All India Plastic Manufacturers Association said the government is expected to make preparations before banning an item. “The study should have been done by now so that there is no confusion. But, our government is doing exactly the opposite,” Bheda said.

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 11:24 IST