Update: The Maharashtra government, on 28th June revised the ban on the initial ban issued on 23rd March. The following article has all the details mentioned related to the ban along with the alternatives present on the Bizongo platform.
What is the Plastic Ban?
On March 23, the Maharashtra government issued a ban, also known as- the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification 2018, on the manufacture, use, transport, distribution, wholesale and retail sale, storage and import of plastic bags with and without handle. The ban also covered disposable products, made from plastic and thermocol (polystyrene), such as disposable dishes for single-use and other things like cups, plates, glasses, fork, bowl, container used for packaging food, spoons, straws, non-woven polypropylene bags, cups/pouches to store liquids, packaging where plastic is needed to wrap or store the products and packaging of food items and grain material.
The ban is only applicable for PET bottles that are used for bottled drinking water with a capacity below 250ml.
Plastic used for packaging of medicines, compostable plastic bags or material used for plant nurseries, handling of solid waste, plastic bags not less than 50 micron thickness used for packaging of milk (with the specific purpose printed on it), plastic manufactured for export in SEZs and plastic to wrap the material at the manufacturing stage are excluded from the ban.
Who is driving this agenda?
The person spearheading the campaign is Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam, who belongs to the mercurial Shiv Sena. With Kadam doing the tough talk, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP couldn’t have asked for more.
What happens if one does not follow the ban?
As per the notification, urban and rural civic bodies, collectors, forest officers, police authorities and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board officials were empowered to implement the ban and take legal action in any other case. The penalty for violating the ban starts from ₹5,000 (first offense), ₹10,000 (second time) and ₹25,000 (third time) with three months in jail. In case one fails to pay the minimum penalty, the civic body can file a prosecution complaint before the court, which will decide the amount to be paid.
Why was the plastic ban revised on 28th June 2018?
Looking at the sudden and stringent ban on plastic usage, the Maharashtra government decided to revise the terms of the ban issued. The revised policies are as follows:
Products under the ban:
All kinds of plastic bags (both with and without a handle), all plastic or thermocol cutlery such as spoons and plates, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic packaging, and PET and PETE bottles.
Products that are allowed in the market:
- All types of plastic packaging if packed at the point of manufacturing
- Labeling should be done according to guidelines
- PET bottles of all sizes used for water, cold drinks etc. except bottles that are used for packaging drinking water with a capacity below 250ml
- Takeaway containers used by restaurants have been allowed for a period of three months which will end in the end of September
- Tupperware and other such plastic containers used for storage and lunch
- Gloves and hair covering woven caps used in restaurants, caterers, cooks etc
- Any plastic if it is directly exported
- Disposable container above 500 micron
- Bin liners
Alternatives to the banned products:
- Plastic and Thermocol Cutlery <> Biodegradable Cutlery
Biodegrabale meal trays of 4 CP and 5 CP are available in the market.
If you are looking for biodegradable cutlery like bowls, forks and spoons, these are all available on Bizongo as well.
- Plastic Bags <> Compostable Materials
There are various alternatives to plastic bags available in the market and at Bizongo. Products like compostable carry bags with or without flap are a great option, to begin with.
Also, there are options like compostable garbage bags and courier bags.
As per the latest notification of the plastic ban imposed by the Government of Maharashtra, compostable bags are banned as well. The exceptional cases in which compostable bags can be used are for plant nurseries, horticulture, agriculture, and handling of solid waste.
- Plastic Bags <> Oxodegradable materials
Apart from compostable, there is another type called Oxodegradable materials that are qualified as an alternative to plastic. The products made from Oxodegradable include- garbage gags (made from PE / Oxodegradable & compostable material), Agricultural Mulch Films (made from PE / Oxodegradable & compostable material), Grocery bags (made from PE / Oxodegradable material), and milk and water pouches (made from PE / Oxodegradable material)
With the plastic ban being stringently issued across Maharashtra, the success of this ban and its effects would prove to become a test case for the largely populated states across India. Businesses dealing heavily in any of the banned products can contact Bizongo to help find an alternative solution for their products.2