Plastic ban: Retail packaging is back in Maharashtra, but with riders

The state has made it mandatory for retailers to ensure the thickness of the plastic packaging material is more than 50 microns and its minimum weight is 2g

mumbai Updated: Jul 03, 2018 00:15 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,plastic ban,Maharashtra
This is the third time the state has revised the list of banned plastic items.

Starting today, retailers and wholesalers will start to give food grain and groceries in plastic packets. The government on Monday issued a notification allowing removal of retail and wholesale packaging from the ambit of plastic ban with immediate effect.

The exemption doesn’t come easy. The state has made it mandatory for retailers to ensure the thickness of the plastic packaging material is more than 50 microns and its minimum weight is 2g. The packaging material has to mention the details of the manufacturer, type of plastic with code number and buy-back price. The manufacturing associations for retail packaging and retailers’ associations will have to create a mechanism for collection of plastic through a buyback mechanism and ensure recycling and final disposal of collected plastic material, said a senior official, requesting anonymity. If they fail to comply with the conditions within three months, the state may consider reversing the decision.

While PET and PETE drinking water bottles with a capacity of less than 200ml are banned again, 200ml bottles carrying other items can still be available. For PET and PETE bottles with a capacity of 1litre and more, taking a deposit and refunding it to ensure buyback mechanism has been made mandatory. Manufacturers can determine the deposit and refund price of the bottle.

The notification has classified multi-layer packaging into recyclable and non-recyclable. Manufacturing of non-recyclable packaging has to stop with immediate effect, according to the notification issued by the state environment department on Tuesday. “As per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on March 18, 2016, the manufacture and use of non-recyclable multi-layered plastic had to be phased out in two years. As the period is over, the manufacturers should stop use of non-recyclable multi-layered plastic immediately,” states the notification.

Manufacturers of recyclable multi-layer packaging have been given three months to ensure collection and recycling of used packets, failing which they could be banned. The same condition has been applied to tetra-packaging, used for liquid and semi-liquid products.

The e-commerce industry will come under the purview of the ban after three months. In the given time, the industry will have to come up with an eco-friendly alternative, and ensure collection and recycling of the plastic being used in these three months, the notification stated.

This is the third time the state has made changes in the plastic ban imposed on March 23 for the first time.

The rules for manufacturing level packaging are the same as retail packaging. In addition, they have been asked to follow Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR) to ensure collection and recycling of used plastic wrappers and packets.

The state government has authorised railways, Metro, Maharashtra Maritime Board and Airport Authority of India (AAI) to penalise offenders.

First Published: Jul 03, 2018 00:15 IST