In a significant move, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has approved an amendment to the Consent to Operate (CtoO) of leading brand owners and plastic producers for use of recycled plastic in plastic packaging and plastic Items. The board has directed all the concerned officials, including the technical head of departments, regional officers and sub-regional officers, to amend the CtoO granted under their purview.
Brand owners such as P&G, Unilever, Nestle, Pepsico, Coca Cola, Ikea, McDonalds, Starbucks, Walmart, Ralph Lauren, Reckitt-Benckiser will be allowed to use minimum 20 per cent of recycled plastic in the non-food/ non-pharma packaging. This will be as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification, 2018, and the subsequent amendments made on April 4, 2018, June 30, 2018, and June 14, 2019.
MPCB’s decision will be applicable where the packaging is procured by these brand owners from other vendors. However, they will have to ensure that the supplies received by them meet the stipulated requirements.
MPCB has asked manufacturers of plastic items such as moulded items, mats, buckets, containers, furniture, agricultural pipes and fittings to submit a plan for the use of recycled plastic in their products within three months. The proposed plan will include the percentage of recycled plastic proposed to be used along with the timelines for the same.
MPCB chairman Sudhir Shrivastava told the Free Press Journal, “The state government has already taken a decision of banning single-use plastic and it has also directed that all plastic packaging should comprise at least 20 per cent of recycled plastic, which is a statutory requirement. In line with this, to promote the use of recycled plastic in non-packaging uses also, the manufacturers of such goods have been asked to give a plan for use of recycled plastic in their products. This is essential as the use of plastic in non-packaging is also massive. MPCB will decide how to push the use of recycled plastic in non-packaging after studying their plans.”
MPCB has argued that it is necessary to amend the CtoO from the perspective of natural resource conservation and to encourage circular economy for plastic. It further added that various leading international brand owners have made stringent commitments regarding the use of recycled plastic.