Maharashtra govt. is going to implement India’s First Plastic Buyback Scheme. Under this scheme, customers will get money from the retailers on handling PET bottles and Milk Pouches back to the store to ensure recycling of Plastic waste. Previously, govt. has imposed complete ban (with certain exemptions) on the manufacture, usage, sale, transport, handling and storage of plastic across the state.
The state govt. will also introduce a similar mechanism for tetra packs and retail packaging in the next 3 months. This buyback depository scheme is already existing in 40 countries across the world. This scheme will be helpful in reducing generation of plastic waste across the state.
Under Maharashtra Plastic & Thermocol Products Notification 2018, it is compulsory for manufacturers to take full responsibility for collection & recycling infrastructure for plastic.
India’s First Plastic Buyback Scheme for PET Bottles & Milk Pouches
Under this scheme, manufacturers have the responsibility to recycle PET bottles and milk pouches. Moreover, they will have to levy a refundable charge to ensure that the buyers return all plastic bottles / pouches to the stores or at collection machines. But, manufactures have still not submitted their plans on how to implement this scheme. The scheme has high deposit rates, shortage of recycling capacity and lack of incentives for recyclers which is a major challenge.
Recycling Mechanism is a condition to obtain licence which manufacturers are not implementing strictly. All those manufacturers who violates this condition will have to face consequences. State govt. has fixed Rs. 50 paise as a refundable deposit for milk pouches and Rs. 1-2 for PET bottles.
Plastic Ban in Maharashtra – Background
Maharashtra govt. has imposed a ban on the plastic across the state. All the products which are banned or not are shown in the image below:-
The state govt. exempted PET bottles of 200 ml and more capacity and milk pouches from the near-all plastic ban after manufacturers agreed to take responsibility for disposal of plastic waste.
Dairy Issues in Implementation of Plastic Buyback Scheme
A 500 ml bottle costs 60 paise and the recycler has to refund Rs. 2 to consumers. There is an assumption that people would start manufacturing empty PET bottles and dump them in these machines. This would give them a profit of Rs. 1.40 per bottle.
This policy is continuously being revised. Govt. is inviting suggestions from all stakeholders. This scheme will be effectively implemented when recycler also generates profits.