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Maharashtra Plastic Ban: Brands comply by using biodegradable materials, paper and cloth

11-July-2018
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Maharashtra Plastic Ban: Brands comply by using biodegradable materials, paper and cloth

On June 23, the Maharashtra government issued a notification banning usage of all single-use plastic bags apart from prohibiting manufacturing and sale of plastic bags. This includes bags, disposable plastic cutlery, disposable thermocol items, plastic wrap used for packaging and storage, non-woven polypropyleme bags, plastic pouches for storing liquid, plastic packaging for food items, plastic and thermocol decoration.

Most of the companies across their departmental stores have started complying by adopting greener alternatives.

Future Group, which has several brands under its wing, including Big Bazaar, FBB, Brand Factory, Food Bazaar, Central and Food Hall amongst others is following the rule across all their stores. “We have replaced plastic with paper, cloth and corn starch bags. As a group for the last four years, we have reduced usage of plastic carry bags resulting in a massive reduction in carry bags nationwide at our stores,” informs its spokesperson.

Departmental stores have taken to alternatives like cloth bags across their stores and home delivery channels. Grocery and fresh food store Godrej Nature’s Basket is one of them. “As a substitute to plastic bags, we are offering cloth bags to our customers for an amount. Vegetables are wrapped in organic plastic," says a spokesperson.

Online grocery delivery service Grofers has reworked their packaging guidelines and is in the process of replacing the entire secondary packaging with reusable bags made of biodegradable and compliant material. Also while ban on plastic will increase the cost of packaging for many, Albinder Dhindsa, Co-founder and CEO, Grofers, thinks otherwise. He says, “This project will also help us reduce cost of packaging. Additionally, for handing over to customers, who need it and want to pay for it at the time of checkout, we will start using one-time use biodegradable bags.”

He adds, “Starting July, fruits and vegetables are being packaged in food-grade paper which will be transported in wooden trays (made of dried leaves). As for groceries, we will now be using biodegradable bags with a molecular composition of greater than 50 microns. This is in compliance with the new government regulations.”

Currently the new packaging is being rolled out in Mumbai and Pune. Based on their understanding of these two markets it will be implemented in other markets, Dhindsa informed.

We tried reaching out to BigBasket and Shopper’s Stop but they did not wish to comment.

When it comes to the bigger players in the e-commerce sector, namely Amazon, according to media reports they have written to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) for an extension to be able to change their plastic packaging to other materials.
Indian states such as Odisha and Uttar Pradesh will also soon ban plastic.

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