India Set To Ban Single-Use Plastics By Mid-2022

Oct 08, 2021by Olivia - F&F

The Indian Government has announced a ban on a range of single-use plastic items, which will take effect on July 1, 2022!

India’s Plastic Pollution Problem

With a population of over 1.3 billion people, India generates around 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste every single day — making it the 15th biggest plastic polluting nation in the world! The most concerning part is that only 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste is actually collected, and even less is recycled properly.  

“Discarded plastic waste litter the country’s roads, rivers and forms huge mounds in garbage dumps across the country. The public and private sector faces the challenge of addressing the burgeoning problem,” says Souvik Bhattacharjya from The Energy and Resources Institute in India.

When litter isn’t collected properly, it will inevitably flow into the ocean. That’s why the seas near Mumbai, Kerala and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are among the worst polluted in the world. It’s expected that by 2050, Mumbai may see more plastic floating in the ocean than fish.

Single Use PlasticsSingle Use Plastics

Which Single-Use Plastics Will Be Banned?

To combat the large amount of plastic waste, the Indian Government has announced a ban on the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of various single-use plastics.

From July 1, 2022, plastic plates, cups, straws, trays, stirrers, cutlery (forks, spoons, knives) will be banned — along with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene decorations, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, and plastic/ PVC banners less than 100 micrometres.  

Plastic carry bags are being targeted, too: The thickness of plastic carry bags will increase from 50 to 75 microns from September 30, 2021, and to 120 microns from December 31, 2022. This will be put into effect so that people will (ideally) reuse their plastic bags instead of throwing them away.

But… There Are Some Loopholes 

The ban, which will unfold over three stages, is based on the ‘Utility Index’ and ‘Environmental Impact’ of a range of single-use plastics. 

The Utility Index assesses the item’s hygiene, product safety, essentiality, social impact and economic impact, whereas the Environmental Impact is based on the item’s collectability, recyclability, littering propensity, and more. Single-use plastic straws, for example, scored 16 on the Utility Index and a massive 87 for Environmental Impact — so will be phased out. 

Here’s the problem: although plastic packaging (rigid and flexible) makes up almost 60 per cent of India’s plastic waste, there are currently no plans to phase it out. Instead, the Indian Government is placing the responsibility on the major plastic producers to collect and manage the waste in an environmentally friendly way, which hasn't really worked.

India Environment Minister Prakash JavadekarIndia Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar

India Plastic Challenge — Hackathon 2021

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has emphasised that single-use plastic is one of the major causes of degradation of the environment — that’s why the Indian Government is calling upon entrepreneurs and students to develop innovative solutions!

To tackle plastic waste pollution and develop ideas to eliminate single-use plastic, India’s Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar, introduced ‘India Plastic Challenge – Hackathon 2021’. The idea is for students and entrepreneurs to develop plastic pollution solutions with the help of workshops, business coaching sessions and mentoring from industry experts. The best part is that after a rigorous pitching process, the winners will receive between AUD$1,800-$9,500.

This is such an amazing way for young people to showcase their solutions to plastic waste! We can’t wait to see the results.

This single-use plastic ban is a huge step in the right direction for India! Eliminating all single-use plastic is a big feat, but there’s truly an urgent need to curb the amount of plastic waste entering the rivers and the oceans from these hotspots. We also love that young people are being given the chance to showcase their innovative, sustainable solutions through India’s Plastic Challenge!

To stay in the loop about single-use plastic bans, head to our Eco News category and take a look at the blogs below.

Ban On Single-Use Plastics

New York Bans Single-Use Toiletry Bottles In Hotels

Australia To Phase Out Single-Use Plastics By 2025

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