Pune: After the ban on plastic came into effect in the State, plastic traders and importers of the state are switching over to wooden and paper cutlery products made in China over Indian cutlery products. It is likely that China may take over the State’s Rs 15,000 crore packaging market. Indian manufacturers of paper and wooden products are worried that if these Chinese products hit the market, then they would be facing losses as these products are 50 per cent cheaper than Indian ones.
Also, due to rise in the cost of raw material by 10 to 20 per cent in India, importers are now favouring Chinese products.
Sanjay Shah, President of Flexible Packaging Industry and Traders Association, said, “Directly or indirectly, China will gain from Maharashtra’s Rs 15,000 crore packaging market. Most of traders and packaging materials manufacturers have decided not to make any further investment in India because of constant changes in policies as they can cost us heavily. In the meanwhile, China is likely to grab the market. Buyers will not wait for us and will go for alternatives. This ban on the use of plastic items will boost China’s economy.”
Plastic traders are placing orders for China-made wine stirrers, butter knives, plates, spoons, straws and forks made from wood and paper that are environment-friendly because price of raw material of paper has increased from Rs 40 to Rs 50 per kg to Rs 75 to Rs 80 per kg. “Indian made paper products do not have durability, no shelf life and come at a high cost. While the same products imported from China are cheaper and more durable,” said Rajesh Malde, a plastic trader from Matunga, Mumbai.
Malde said, “One China-made eco-friendly spoon will cost Rs 2 against earlier 30 paise for a plastic spoon. Similarly, the rate of a China-made eco-friendly plate will be Rs 3 against 50 paise for a plastic plate. The alternatives cost more.”
Harshit Mehta, who was a plastic manufacturer earlier but had to shut down his business due to the ban, started importing Chinese products as an alternative to plastic. Mehta said, “Even after importing wooden and paper made cutleries from China, they are cheaper than purchasing from India. It takes Rs 5 crore including the import duty and GST. We have to pay more than Rs 5 crore if the same items are purchased from India. Currently, we are purchasing two crore spoons and paper straws and 50,000 paper cups, knife and wine stirrers.”
Yogesh Jhunjhunwala, another plastic trader from Mumbai, said, “We are purchasing China-made wine stirrers, butter knives, plates, spoons, straw and forks made from wood and paper as per the requirement and selling it for Rs 2 to Rs 5. Not many people are purchasing it, but we do not have any other option.”
While the paper plates manufacturers are worried that the China made products may eat into their business. Sanjay Patil, a paper plate manufacturer at Hadapsar, said, “Currently we are selling paper plates for Rs 9 to Rs 20 and China made products comes cheap. Once they hit the market, they will be taking away half of our business.”
Thakkar Plastic, another paper manufacturer from Kothrud, said, “The China-made products have always been eating into the business of Indian market because the China made products are 50 per cent cheaper compared to Indian made ones. Indian paper products are costlier because of the increase in cost of raw materials.”