Imported paper straws to have cost implications, says industry

By 15 Apr 2022

With the deadline for the ban on single-use plastic items, including plastic straws, fast approaching, manufacturers of small packaged fruit juices and dairy products have now sought an extension of the 1 July deadline, especially on the ban on plastic straws. According to them, imported paper straws are expected to increase their input cost but are unlikely to meet the industry’s requirement.

Arguing that there is no viable alternative at present, industry body Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC) and FMCG major Dabur India said there is a need to extend the deadline by at least two-three years for a smooth transition.

According to a PTI report, Mohit Malhotra, CEO, Dabur, said, “We would urge the government to extend the implementation date of the ban till proper infrastructure for producing paper straws locally is developed.” 

Expressing similar views, AARC said the ban is going to have a big impact as there are no alternatives at the moment. “The industry has been working on biodegradable PLA straws as alternatives but these are still 9-12 months away from validation. The industry is also looking to import paper straws, whatever could be imported, though there is not enough availability globally,” said AARC CEO Praveen Agarwal.

According to him, production and sales will stop to a large extent if the government does not extend the deadline for the industry, which is estimated to be around Rs 6,000-crore. Also globally, there are limited manufacturers of straw line machines, and they have long waiting periods, he added.

“So despite the industry wanting to fast-track, it will take some time,” said Agarwal. “We have spoken to the government to give us transition time. We need at least two to three years for every plastic straw to be replaced by either bio-compostable or paper straws.”

Malhotra of Dabur said importing paper straws will also have cost implications on companies, which will lead to loss of revenue to the government exchequer, and this runs contrary to the spirit of the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

According to the new rules, the producers, importers and brand-owners shall have to provide the details of recycling certificates only from registered recyclers along with the details of quantity sent for end-of-life disposal by 30 June, of next financial year, while filing annual returns on the online portal of the Central Pollution Control Board. 

(Courtesy PTI)

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