Alternatives to the use of plastic

Anvita Srivastava
Sunday, 24 March 2019

Although the plastic ban has completed a year, the State government has failed in creating awareness among the people regarding alternatives to plastic.

Although the plastic ban has completed a year, the State government has failed in creating awareness among the people regarding alternatives to plastic. As the plastic ban completed one year on Saturday (March 23), Sakal Times spoke with various stakeholders regarding the plastic alternatives and recycling.

Ali Asgar, Founder and Partner of M/s Sunny Enterprise, felt that awareness has increased but proper implementation of alternatives is lacking. He said, “Till July, our sale was fine but when Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) stopped compostable carry bags and allowed only garbage bags, it hit us hard. Now our products are sold out of Maharashtra.” 

“Awareness has definitely increased among people but the situation could have been better if the concerned authorities would have implemented proper measures to provide alternatives,” he added. Veena Nene of Samuchit Enviro Tech, a trader in sustainable products, feels that the post-plastic ban awareness among masses has increased but still there is a lot more that is required.

She said, “People are becoming aware and they are switching towards a more sustainable lifestyle by using eco-friendly products. Post plastic ban, we have seen an increase in demand of eco-friendly products such as bamboo brushes, earbuds and travel kits. In fact, during Diwali and New Year, we have almost sold 300 eco-friendly gift items such as a bamboo amplifier and notepad.” 

“There is an increase in the sale of mud bottles and matkas and it is replacing plastic bottles.”
“Even though awareness has increased, still there are not enough measures taken to create awareness regarding alternatives,” she added.

Vicky Singhania, Operation Manager, EcoAd, a manufacturer of newspaper bags and dealer in other paper products, said, “Post plastic ban, our sale of newspaper bags has increased. Normally, we used to sell 13,000 to 14,000 bags every month and our sale from May till October increased by 40 per cent. Now it is back to our previous sales, as the competition in the market has increased. With more players coming into the market, those who are selling at a lesser price, their customer base has increased.” “We also deal in cloth bags and products like paper-straw and containers and post-plastic ban, the sale of which has increased” he added.

Nayan Joshi, General Manager, M/s Narendra Plastic Pvt Ltd, said, “There was a lot of hype created during the ban but the same hype was not created to make people aware about the alternatives. This gives a lacuna in the system, giving corruption a way as still there is a lot of plastic available in the market.”

He further said, “These compostable bags have fewer buyers because it is costly as the raw material used for manufacturing is very costly. Suppose before the plastic ban, we used to sell products worth Rs 50 lakh, after the ban, I am able to make sales of only Rs 10 lakh.” 

“After July, we incurred a lot of losses and we do not have enough buyers and our turnover also has gone down,” he added.

Alternatives are missing
Ganesh Shetty, President, Pune Restaurant and Hotelier Association (PRAHA), said, “Post-plastic ban, there was hardly any alternative provided in the restaurant industry. We are forced to use paper container and paper bags. In every two to four parcels, at least one parcel gets spoiled. It has also started affecting our business.” 
“The problem of not having sufficient alternatives still exists even after one year and it was said that above 50 microns plastic is allowed but still there is no solution given to us.”
Neerav Panchamia of Poona Hotelier Association said, “Hotel industry has adapted to plastic ban very effectively. Food grade paper container is used for the parcel and plastic cutlery was replaced by wooden cutlery. It is an ongoing process and everyone is getting adjusted to it gradually but more awareness is required regarding alternatives.”

Awareness Increases
The implementation of the plastic ban has increased the awareness among people regarding the recycling but recyclers felt that there is still a lot of misinformation existing among the community and people do not have clarity.
Nilesh Rathi, Clean Garbage Management, said, “Awareness has increased since people do segregation after the Swachta Abhiyan but the plastic ban has not really played an important role in that.” 
“In fact, the poor implementation of the plastic ban has left people uninformed as they are not aware of the alternatives and recycling properly. The only impact, which can be seen, is that there are no carry bags but still there are a lot of places like sweets, chocolates where plastic is still largely being used.”
Medha Tadpatrikar of Rudra Environmental Solution, a company that converts plastic waste into poly fuel, said that awareness has definitely increased and a lot of people are supporting it. She said, “We have more people who are volunteering for collecting and segregating plastic for recycling but there is no end to end solution for proper implementation towards a sustainable lifestyle.”
“There is so much confusion among people regarding the plastic. There is no clarity and no awareness being created on the same. As we see thin plastic has been replaced by paper bags ,which cannot be a solution as it is not a sustainable lifestyle method, ” she added.


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