Centre notifies ban on single-use plastic items from 1 July 2022

Seeking to make India single-use plastic-free by next year and to deal with the menace of huge uncollected plastic waste across the country, the Centre on Thursday notified ban on the use of single-use plastic items from 1 July 2022 and increased thickness of polythene bags from 50- to 120-microns.

13 Aug 2021 | By PrintWeek Team

The thickness clause will, however, be implemented in a staggered manner in two phases, beginning 30 September.

Currently, polythene bags of less than 50-microns are banned in the country. But under the new rules, polythene bags of less than 75-microns in thickness will be banned from 30 September and bags of less than 120-microns will be banned from 31 December 2022.

The notification, issued by the environment ministry said that the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities will be prohibited with effect from 1 July 2022.

Such single-use plastic items include earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene for decoration; plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packaging films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, and cigarette packets, plastic or banners less than 100-micron and stirrers.

The staggered plan on thickness clause has been approved so that it doesn't affect small businesses and traders. The ministry had in March notified the draft. The final decision was notified on 12 August 2021 after considering the views of stakeholders on the draft.

The notification also for the first time defined the single-use plastic and identified, such items which are to be banned in a staggered manner. It said “single-use plastic commodity” means a plastic item intended to be used once for the same purpose before being disposed of or recycled.

An increase in the thickness of carrying bags, made of virgin or recycled plastic, will substantially improve the collection and recycling of used carrier bags. The move assumes significance as currently, 40% of total plastic waste remains uncollected in the country every day.

The uncollected plastic waste causes choking of drainage and river systems, soil and water contamination, littering of the marine ecosystem, ingestion by stray animals, and open-air burning leading to adverse impact on human health and the environment.

Under the notification, it will be the responsibility of urban local bodies and ‘panchayats’ for setting up and coordinating the waste management system and for performing the associated functions such as ensuring segregation, collection, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste. 

Plastic items to be banned as per the new amendment (Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2021)

  • Earbuds with plastic sticks
  • Plastic sticks for balloons
  • Plastic flags
  • Candy sticks
  • Ice-cream sticks
  • Polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration
  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Glasses
  • Cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw
  • Cigarette packets
  • Invitation cards
  • Wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes
  • Plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron
  • Stirrers