Why the ban on single-use plastics won’t help
- The Union government has banned identified single-use plastics (SUPs) as mandated by Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2021.
- Aim: Tackle plastic pollution by targeting low-utility high-littering SUPs.
Efficacy of plastic ban
- This ban targets only two-three per cent of total plastic produced.
- It excludes plastic packaging of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), which include sachets and packaging of products like chips, biscuits, and soap.
- Findings of Break Free From Plastic:
- Much of plastic pollution was caused by products from top brands.
Banm in FMCG packaging
- A report by FICCI argued that banning FMCG packaging would cost Food processing industry Rs. 90,000 crore per annum amounting to 72 per cent of the industry.
- 2021 Rules treat SUPs generated by FMCG and non-FMCGs differently.
- Non-FMCG SUPs are banned but FMCG category have been allowed to go free.
- Backward linkage in plastic production includes petroleum intermediate producers, resin and naphtha producers, pre-packaging manufacturers, plant and machinery, mould and additive producers.
- Ban on FMCG packaging would have significant impact on this entire chain.
Issues with the ban
- Limited ban on some SUPs will not impact big players who will continue to produce for non-FMCG category.
- It will largely impact MSME and informal sector, both on production and use side, leading business to move from informal to formal sector.
- Government should focus on moving away from the use-and-throw economy to one which is designed for reusable and sustainable packaging.
- It should be geared towards smaller players, end user, environment and climate.