State govt. makes further concessions in plastic ban

The State government has further relaxed its stringent ban on plastic with an empowered committee headed by Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam issuing a notification late on Saturday evening. The changes have been made amid reports that multinational firms such as Amazon have lobbied with the government to ease the restrictions imposed by the ban on plastic.

A member of the committee said the new notification has laid emphasis on the recycling of waste and pricing of plastic products. The government has made it mandatory for retailers to price the plastic bags so that a buyback price can be generated.

The notification has also limited the minimum weight for a retail bag to 2 gm and the size by six inches. Garments will have to be removed from original packaging before being sold to customers, and the use of shrink, stretch and cling films will be restricted. No changes have been made to the use of thermoformed containers and carry bags.

A member of the empowered committee said, “We have clearly defined what is and what is not permissible in greater detail. For users of multi-layered plastic we have given three months to come up with a mechanism to recycle them or face a ban.”

On June 27, the government announced the first set of relaxations by allowing small retailers to use plastic bags for packaging for the next three months.

The relaxation was applicable to plastic bags above 50 microns. The changes were made just four days after the ban on single-use plastic items across the State.

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