Free Press Journal

Maharashtra bans plastic bags, here’s our guide to eco-friendly bags

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Starting from Gudi Padwa, the Maharashtra cabinet has imposed a ban on the use of plastic bags and single-use disposable products like forks, spoons, plates, bowls, cups, and straws. The draft of the proposed ban also mentions items such as flex boards, banners, plastic wrappers, plastic sheets, and flags. With this Maharashtra becomes the eighteenth state to ban plastics in India (implementation is not easy though!). Not to forget the fact that the state contributes to 30 percent of all plastic waste in India. The decision to ban plastic comes after the flooding in Mumbai in 2017 which was a result of plastic waste and construction debris. Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam has stated that ‘plastic ban’ is the brainchild of Aaditya Thackeray, youth wing leader of Shiv Sena.

Exemption
The ban excludes plastic used for packaging medicines and also when the manufacturer takes the responsibility to recycle it. The goods that are exempted are plastic containers and sachets used for packing grains, pulses and plastic/tetra packs used to pack milk and water. As the complete ban of the plastic may also result in the hike in prices of the products.

Return pouch/bottles, get a refund
To ensure the recycling of pouches and bottles, the state government will levy a refundable charge on them. It is said that the state government will charge an additional Re 1 on PET plastic bottles and 50 paise on milk pouch, which will be refunded when the consumer returns the pouch/bottle. Centres for returning the items will be opened at government offices and municipal wards.


Violation of the act
As per to the ban, after March 18, the usage of plastic bags and single-use disposable products can attract up to three months of jail term and/or a penalty of Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000.

In the past
This is not the first time Maharashtra has imposed a ban on plastic. It was in Maharashtra floods of 2005 when the first the plastic-clogged drains flooded the entire city. And then, a ban on the manufacture, distribution, stocking or sale of bags made of virgin and recycled plastic less than 8*12 inches and below the thickness of 50 microns was imposed under the Maharashtra Plastic Carry Bags (Manufacture and Usage) Rules, 2006. But in reality, the ban was hardly implemented. The failure of the ban was maybe the lack of awareness of the hazardous impact of plastic and also of the alternatives to plastics. Earlier, the Delhi government has imposed a ban on plastic bags and those violating the rules may face a fine of Rs 5,000.

Alternates to plastic bags
Initially, the idea to break up with plastic may sound a bit daunting as our lives are surrounded by plastic and we use it for every second thing in our life. To make a big difference in reducing the usage of plastic from our lives, we list some places where you can get bags that can be reused.

Green The Map

Green the map

Image source: Green The Map/Website

Formerly Green The Gap, Green The Map is located in Bandra and is an arm of Swechha, a Delhi-based social organisation. The store is known for bags made from scrap leather, rubber tyres, juice cartons and other waste products. When here also check their other products such as wallets, iPad sleeves, and totes. The bags here are eco-friendly and stylish at the same time.
Where:
To order, click here.

Dhaaga Handcrafts

Dhaaga Handcrafts

Image source: Dhaaga Handcrafts/Facebook

You might have come across the brand at the Lil Flea. Dhaaga Handcrafts has some trendy and eco-friendly handcrafted jute purses and handbags. The bags are ethnically designed and come in enchanting colours. When here also check their quirky accessories.
To order, click here.

I was a Sari

I was a sari

Image source: I was a Sari/Facebook

‘I was a sari’ transforms old sarees into bags, accessories and traditional outfit. The lifestyle brand has also appeared at the Lakme Fashion Week. The brand guides underprivileged women to employ their talents for creative productions.
To order, click here.

Greenhandle

greenhandle

Image source: Greenhandle/Website

The e-commerce venture sells bags that are eco-friendly, recyclable and reusable. Greenhandle sells bags and pouches made from newspaper, jute, cotton, canvas, bamboo, and khadi, among others.
To order, click here.

Smallsteps

Small Steps

Image source: Smallsteps/Website


The bags by ‘Smallsteps’ are hand-made, stylish, light, sturdy and compact. Each bag is made from 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester and is available in five different colours. When not in use, these bags can be folded back to the size of cell-phone.
To order, click here.