Single use plastic: Industry bodies raise concerns over economy and job losses

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New Delhi: As the government is gearing up to completely ban single-use plastic from July 1, the industry bodies have raised concerns over its impact on the economy and job losses in the country.

In view of this, the All India Plastic Manufacturers Association (AIPMA) raised concerns and said the move could leave about 88,000 units bankrupt who are engaging in the manufacturing of Single-use Plastic.

“About 88,000 units are engaged in the manufacturing of single-use plastic in the country. These units employ about 1 million people and contribute to exports worth Rs 25,000 crore,” said Jayesh Khimji Rambhia, co-chairman of the environment committee of AIPMA.

On July 1 the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) (Amended) Rules, 2021, notified in August 2021, come into effect. This means it is illegal to manufacture, import, stock, distribution, sale, and use several single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential.

From the implementation no plastic sticks in ice-creams, no disposable plates and cups and spoons, no
boxes of sweets wrapped with thin plastic sheets, no thermocol for decoration, no PVC
banners thinner than 100 microns, and so on.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in its notification in March 2022 issued an order to ban the single-use plastic items from July 1.

These items include earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene [thermocol] for decoration, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, plastic, or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers etc.

According to the data, approximately 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated every year across India or around 9500 MT daily.

Out of this only 30 percent (2876MT) of plastic waste recycling in India and 70 percent (6,712MT) landed in the environment, including landfills and water.

“The impact of the ban will be felt across the industries. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) makers, the aviation industry, and quick-service restaurants will bear the brunt, Rambhia said.

According to the industry, about 6 billion packs of paper-based beverage cartons with integrated plastic straws are sold annually in the country. The capacity to produce paper straws is only 1.3 million straws per day, against a requirement of 6 million/day.

These companies also flagged cost concerns and said using plastic straws will inflate their costs significantly. While a plastic straw costs 10 paise and accounts for 1 percent of a Rs 10 beverage carton, a paper straw costs 40-45 paise and would account for 4-4.5 percent of the cost.

Earlier, The Confederation of All India Traders ( CAIT) also raised its concerns and urged the Ministry to extend the last date of imposition of the ban on single-use plastic to one year.

Taking to The Environment, CAIT Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal said by banning single-use plastic in a single go will impact the economy and jobs in a big way.

He said that millions of people are associated with this business and thousands of industries dependent upon single-use plastic in packaging will face a crisis. 

“We are demanding the decision will be extended at least one year so that the industry people have time to arrange an alternative to the single-use plastic” he added.

He also said the government must constitute a joint committee of senior government officials and representatives of stakeholders to look into the matter.

“The single-use plastic has emerged a much bigger industry giving employment to lakhs of people in the country and having an annual turnover of more than Rs 60 thousand crores. Banks and financial institutions have a great stake in single-use plastic industry and in a situation of a complete ban without providing any equitable alternative will have massive destruction in a working vertical of retail,” he added.

Given the huge impact on the industry of the expected closure of single-use plastic makers, AIPMA is urging the government to offer some compensation to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) engaged in the trade and also work towards their rehabilitation.

According to AIPMA, the MSMEs, which have a turnover of Rs 1-5 crore, in total have invested about Rs 39,000 crore in these units. AIPMA said it has also urged the government to rehabilitate these units, which will shut down from July 1.

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