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Explained: Here’s All You Need To Know About Single-Use Plastic Ban in India

India is banning some identified single-use plastic items from July 1. Here is a list of all the banned items.

Published
Explainers
3 min read
Explained: Here’s All You Need To Know About Single-Use Plastic Ban in India
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India will see a countrywide ban on the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of identified single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, from July 1, 2022.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, had notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, on 12 August 2021 itself but the ban will be implemented this month onwards.

The government says this ban will help curb pollution caused by littered and unmanaged plastic waste and phase out single-use plastic items by 2022.

So, here is everything you need to know about this ban.

Explained: Here’s All You Need To Know About Single-Use Plastic Ban in India

  1. 1. Are All Plastic Bags Banned?

    According to the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of plastic carry bags having thickness less than 75 microns had already been banned with effect from 30 September 2021.

    Now, bags with thickness less than 120 microns will be banned from 31 December 2022.

    Plastic bags which are thicker than what is mentioned above will be allowed.

    Expand
  2. 2. What Are the Banned 'Identified Single-Use Plastic Items'?

    The list of banned items includes the following:

    • Ear buds with plastic sticks

    • Plastic sticks for balloons

    • Plastic flags

    • Candy sticks

    • Ice cream sticks

    • Polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration

    • Plastic straws and stirrers

    • Plastic plates, cups, glasses

    • Plastic cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives

    • Wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets

    • Plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron

    Some experts say that this list is not comprehensive and should have included things such as multi-layered or tetra packaging like chips packets or juice boxes.

    Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016 had also banned all plastic sachets for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco, and pan masala.

    Expand
  3. 3. What Is Single-Use Plastic and Why Is It Being Banned?

    As the term suggests, these are items that are discarded after one single use which are usually referred to as 'disposables'.

    UN Environment Programme (UNEP) defines single-use plastic products (SUP) as “an umbrella term for different types of products that are typically used once before being thrown away or recycled," which includes food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups, cutlery, and shopping bags.

    Now, this plastic is a huge menace because it keeps adding to the tonnes of plastic which is never processed or recycled and mostly lands up in landfills in our cities. The world uses an estimated 100-150 million tonnes of single-use plastics, at least.

    About 8 million tonnes of these single-use plastics are dumped into the oceans every year.

    India is banning these to, of course, make some progress in curbing the country's plastic pollution but also because at the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019, India had piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic products pollution.

    The adoption of this resolution at UNEA 4 was a significant step. In the recently concluded 5th session of United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2022, India engaged constructively with all member states to develop consensus on the resolution for driving global action on plastic pollution.

    And this ban is not new, it has been seen in bits and parts across the country for a while now. A total of 25 states and Union territories had already banned SUP carry bags.

    Expand
  4. 4. Will There Be Any Monitoring to Ensure Implementation of the Ban?

    Yes.

    From 1 July, national and state-level control rooms will be set up and special enforcement teams will be formed for checking illegal manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of banned SUP (single-use plastic) items.

    States and Union territories have also been asked to set up border check points to stop inter-state movement of any banned single-use plastic items.

    If found violating the rules, the offenders will be punished under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. Violators could face a jail term of up to 5 years or Rs 1 lakh penalty or both.

    Local level administrative bodies like gram panchayats or municipal corporations will also be allowed to come up with their own punishments and penalties.

    Expand
  5. 5. What Is One Big Impact This Ban Will Have On Me?

    The most apparent and big change that you are likely to see is the lack of commonly known as poly or plastic bags at local convenience stores, vegetable vendors, and hawkers.

    The ban has also made these small hawkers and vendors unhappy since the customers are likely to still expect some sort of carry bag despite the ban and all options other than plastic bags that are available at the moment are difficult to purchase and more expensive for small vendors.

    So, take a carry bag along wherever you go and always have a spare one with you.

    (You can access the government's notification on the plastic ban here.)

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

Are All Plastic Bags Banned?

According to the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of plastic carry bags having thickness less than 75 microns had already been banned with effect from 30 September 2021.

Now, bags with thickness less than 120 microns will be banned from 31 December 2022.

Plastic bags which are thicker than what is mentioned above will be allowed.

ADVERTISEMENT

What Are the Banned 'Identified Single-Use Plastic Items'?

The list of banned items includes the following:

  • Ear buds with plastic sticks

  • Plastic sticks for balloons

  • Plastic flags

  • Candy sticks

  • Ice cream sticks

  • Polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration

  • Plastic straws and stirrers

  • Plastic plates, cups, glasses

  • Plastic cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives

  • Wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets

  • Plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron

Some experts say that this list is not comprehensive and should have included things such as multi-layered or tetra packaging like chips packets or juice boxes.

Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016 had also banned all plastic sachets for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco, and pan masala.

ADVERTISEMENT

What Is Single-Use Plastic and Why Is It Being Banned?

As the term suggests, these are items that are discarded after one single use which are usually referred to as 'disposables'.

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) defines single-use plastic products (SUP) as “an umbrella term for different types of products that are typically used once before being thrown away or recycled," which includes food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups, cutlery, and shopping bags.

Now, this plastic is a huge menace because it keeps adding to the tonnes of plastic which is never processed or recycled and mostly lands up in landfills in our cities. The world uses an estimated 100-150 million tonnes of single-use plastics, at least.

About 8 million tonnes of these single-use plastics are dumped into the oceans every year.

India is banning these to, of course, make some progress in curbing the country's plastic pollution but also because at the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly held in 2019, India had piloted a resolution on addressing single-use plastic products pollution.

The adoption of this resolution at UNEA 4 was a significant step. In the recently concluded 5th session of United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2022, India engaged constructively with all member states to develop consensus on the resolution for driving global action on plastic pollution.

And this ban is not new, it has been seen in bits and parts across the country for a while now. A total of 25 states and Union territories had already banned SUP carry bags.

ADVERTISEMENT

Will There Be Any Monitoring to Ensure Implementation of the Ban?

Yes.

From 1 July, national and state-level control rooms will be set up and special enforcement teams will be formed for checking illegal manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of banned SUP (single-use plastic) items.

States and Union territories have also been asked to set up border check points to stop inter-state movement of any banned single-use plastic items.

If found violating the rules, the offenders will be punished under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. Violators could face a jail term of up to 5 years or Rs 1 lakh penalty or both.

Local level administrative bodies like gram panchayats or municipal corporations will also be allowed to come up with their own punishments and penalties.

ADVERTISEMENT

What Is One Big Impact This Ban Will Have On Me?

The most apparent and big change that you are likely to see is the lack of commonly known as poly or plastic bags at local convenience stores, vegetable vendors, and hawkers.

The ban has also made these small hawkers and vendors unhappy since the customers are likely to still expect some sort of carry bag despite the ban and all options other than plastic bags that are available at the moment are difficult to purchase and more expensive for small vendors.

So, take a carry bag along wherever you go and always have a spare one with you.

(You can access the government's notification on the plastic ban here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from explainers

Topics:  Single Use Plastic   Plastc Ban 

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