Pune: The plastic ban, which has been implemented from Saturday in Maharashtra, covers plastic bags, disposable cups and plates, plastic cutlery, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic pouches and packaging, and thermocol. Those caught manufacturing, using, selling, transporting, handling and storing them, will be fined Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 10,000 for second and Rs 25,000 for every subsequent violation.
Giving more information on it, Varun Sandhi, Chief Coordinator of CM’s Plastic Task Force, said, “The government is pretty clear on what plastic is exempted and banned. Also, the meeting held by the expert committee on June 20, has demanded a relaxation of some items of plastic. The recommendations given by the expert committee and people from the industry have not been yet approved by the empowered committee (which is the main body of the plastic task force). The meeting with the empowered committee will take place on June 27.”
The ban notification issued by State government on March 23 this year, mentioned that ‘plastic’ means material; which contains as an essential ingredient a high polymer such as polyethylene terephthalate, high-density polyethylene, vinyl, low-density polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene resins, polystyrene (thermocol), non-oven polypropylene, multi-layered co-extruder, polypropylene, poly terephthalate, polyamides, polymethyl methacrylate, plastic microbeads, etc. The ban covers the whole of Maharashtra for manufacture, usage, transport, distribution, wholesale and retail sale and storage and import of the products, including plastic bags, disposable plastic items like spoons, forks, cups, glasses, containers, disposable thermocol items like plates, glasses, bowls and containers, non-woven polypropylene bags, plastic pouches for storing liquid, plastic wrap used for packaging products, plastic packaging for food items, plastic and thermocol decorations.
The ban is applicable to every person, body of persons, government and non-government organisation, educational institutions, sport complexes, clubs, cinema halls and theatres, marriage/celebration halls, industrial units, commercial institutions, offices, pilgrimage organisers, pilgrimages and religious places, hotels, dhabas, shopkeepers, malls, vendors or sellers, traders, manufacturers, caterers, wholesalers, retailers, stockists, businessmen, hawkers, salesmen, transporters, market, producers, stalls, tourist places, forest & reserved forest, eco-sensitive areas, all sea beaches, all public places, bus stands, railway stations, says the notification.
Which plastic items are exempted from the ban?
- Plastic bags or plastic used for packaging of medicines
- Compostable plastic bags or material used for plant nurseries
- Horticulture, agriculture, handling of solid waste
- Plastic and plastic bags for export purpose only, in the Special Economic Zone and export-oriented units.
- The plastic used for handling of solid waste (for example garbage used at homes).
- Plastic cover or plastic to wrap material used at the manufacturing stage or is an integral part of manufacturing.
- Food grade virgin plastic bags not less than 50-micron thickness used for packaging of milk.
Which items are banned?
- All kinds of plastic bags (with and without handle), garbage bags
- All one-time use disposable items made up of plastic and thermocol, such as cutlery, plates and bowls.
- Plastic sheets to wrap or store products and plastic pouches to store liquid
- Non-woven polypropylene bags (a cross between paper and cloth bag)
- Disposable plastic containers used for takeaway
- PET bottles (containing soft drinks, mineral water etc) and with a carrying capacity of less than 500 ml
No ban on thermocol items during the Ganesh festival
- Sandhi also mentioned that there will be no ban on thermocol items used for decoration during the Ganpati festival. As the thermocol manufactures demanded relaxation to use thermocol for decoration till the Ganesh festival ends. They will submit an affidavit to State government mentioning that they will set up a buyback mechanism and the production and sale of buyback data will be provided to the government.
- Also, all the PET bottles will be allowed only if they have ‘buyback’ words printed on it.
- The State government is encouraging use of compostable bags for agriculture and nursery use, rather than using plastic bags
- Primary packaging, means plastic packaging above 50 microns are allowed only to those items or products, which are produced or manufactured in their units. After it comes out of the manufacturing or production unit, no person will repackage it. This primary packaging includes thermocol and plastic use in television sets, fridges, or any other loose products, which is packed in the unit itself.