Mumbai plastic ban: Rules relaxed for retailers & wholesalers

Mumbai: In yet another amendment to the ongoing plastic ban, retailers and wholesalers are now allowed to sell foodgrains and groceries in plastic packets. The state government on Monday issued a notification allowing the removal of retail and wholesale packaging from the ambit of the plastic ban with immediate effect. This is the third time the state has made changes since the plastic ban was imposed.

However, the exemption is not without twists and ties. The state government has made it mandatory for retailers to ensure the thickness of the plastic packaging material is more than 50 microns and its minimum weight is two grams. The packaging material must feature details of the manufacturer, the type of plastic used with the code number and its buyback price.

The manufacturing associations for retail packaging and retailers’ associations will have to create a mechanism for the collection of plastic through a buyback mechanism and ensure recycling and final disposal of collected plastic material, said a senior official, requesting anonymity. If they fail to comply with the conditions within three months, the state may consider reversing the decision.

The notification has classified multi-layer packaging into recyclable and non-recyclable. Manufacturing of non-recyclable packaging has to stop with immediate effect, according to the notification issued by the state environment department on Tuesday.

“As per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on March 18, 2016, the manufacture and use of non-recyclable multi-layered plastic had to be phased out in two years. As the period is over, the manufacturers should stop use of non-recyclable multi-layered plastic immediately,” states the notification.

Manufacturers of recyclable multi-layer packaging have been given three months to ensure collection and recycling of used packets, failing which these could be banned. The same condition has been applied to tetra-packs used for liquid and semi-liquid products.

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