Mumbai: Maharashtra is the 18th state of India to impose a plastic ban with effect from June 23. Two weeks on with some changes and relaxations, plus to avoid confusion among citizens about what is included in the ban and what is not, the Maharshtra government has come out with a detailed notification. Although the notification, titled ‘Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification, 2018,’ was circulated on March 23, giving all stakeholders three months to time discard plastic and opt for eco-friendly alternatives, the rollout has not been smooth. Plastic manufacturers went to court for some respite from the ban, the next hearing for the case is on July 20. Retailers had their share of woes. Small retailers had packaging issues forcing government to relax the ban and exempt plastic used for packaging of food grains. E-commerce companies have been given time till September to do get rid of their existing plastic and comply with the ban.
So, for all those confused about what is covered under the Maharashtra Plastic Ban and what is not, here is a quick checklist:
Plastic Items Included In The Ban
- Plastic bottles and water pouches with less than 200 ml capacity
- All kinds of plastic bags (with or without handle) regardless of the thickness
- Disposable plastic products like spoons, forks, cups, plates, glasses, bowls, and container are prohibited for use by users, shopkeepers and manufacturers
- Plastic and thermocol decoration materials
- Plastics bags/containers used in hotels and restaurants for food packaging and other plastic utensils and straws
Plastic Items Excluded From The Ban
- PET bottles and PETE bottles (more than 200 ml capacity)
- Plastic packaging for medicines
- Plastic used for packaging purposes by the manufacturing industries included under the Special Economic Zone
- Plastic packaging manufacturing industry can use plastic of more than 50 microns and atleast 20 per cent of it should be recycled plastic.
- Plastic packaging used in groceries to store food items which weigh more than 200 grams. The plastic used should be more than 50 microns.
- Compostable bags used for planting trees, in agriculture, horticulture and covering fruits. Waste bins liners are also allowed.
- Tetra packaging which has one layer of plastic in it
- Plastic of more than 50 microns used for packaging of milk. It should have the retailer’s name.
- Recyclable multi-layered plastic packaging. Examples include plastic chips, shampoos, toothpaste, chocolates, oil bottles, etc
- Plastic products for household usage
- Thermocol boxes used for storage of fish and other sea food
- Recyclable plastic stationary and other officer products like folders
Plastic Bottle Buyback Scheme To Be Launched In Maharashtra
From next month onwards, the state government will implement the buyback scheme on PET bottles (more than 200 ml) to ensure that plastics that are exempted from the ban are recycled. As per the scheme, a consumer will get back a certain amount of deposit paid to the retailer on returning plastic bottles and pouches to the store.
Under the extended producer and seller’s/trader’s responsibility, bottle manufacturers, sellers, traders will have to print a predefined buyback price on the bottle along with the name of the retailer and the code. Presently, buyback price of Rs 1 and Rs 2 for PET/PETE bottles having liquid holding capacity of 1 litre or more and of less than 1 litre respectively has been fixed.
The notification also says that manufacturers will also have to set up collection centres, reverse vending machines, crushing machines to collect and recycle such PET or PETE bottles within three months from the date (April 11) of the notification. As per the plastic ban notification, violators will be fined Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 for first and second-time offence. Whereas, a third-time offender will be fined Rs 25,000 and can also face three months imprisonment.