Why the ban on single-use plastics won’t help

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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.