Good news for retailers as government set to exempt retail packaging from plastic ban

Good news for retailers as government exempts retail packaging from plastic ban
A notification about the exemption is expected by tomorrow (Representational Image, Courtesy: TradeBriefs)

In a good news for retailers, who were facing a major brunt of the Maharashtra Plastic Ban in the form of loss of business, the government has decided to dilute the ban by allowing plastic used for retail packaging of products.

The development comes a day after Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association claimed that retailers in the state witnessed a 50 percent drop in business since the ban came into effect last week.

UpdateMaharashtra Plastic Ban Update: Officials to target, penalise 3 main items; retailers get relief

The decision to exclude retail packaging from the ambit of the ban was taken by the empowered committee, comprising five senior bureaucrats, on Wednesday.

Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam discussed the exemption with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday and a formal notification about the exemption is expected in a day’s time.

Kadam also warned that the exemption can be revoked if stakeholders are found violating the riders. Meanwhile, the ban on the bulk of single-use plastic and thermocol items will remain as is.

Highlights of retail packaging exemption:

# Retail packaging of 250 gm or more will be allowed, provided the retailer/trader/kirana store prints his name and quality of the plastic on the pack.

# The relaxation is for plastic bags of 50 microns or above.

# The exemption is only applicable for food items as they lack a viable alternative to plastic packaging.

# Retailers indulging in ‘loose’ sale of products like milk, however, will not be exempted from the ban.

# Retailers will also have to set up a buy back mechanism in the next three months to collect all plastic put in circulation by them.

Other major developments:

Apart from lifting the ban on retail packaging, the following items were discussed by the empowered committee.

# No fines will be imposed on the use of garbage bin liners.

# Restaurants and delivery kitchens will not be fined for packaging food in takeaway containers that are biodegradable and re-usable.

# Places like malls, auditoriums, marriage halls etc will have to set up collection centres for plastic waste in premises. The collected waste will have to be mandatorily sent for recycling.

# A new campaign about the modified list of banned and exempted items will be run to increase awareness.

On a separate note, anti-plastic squads have so far collected over Rs 10 lakh in fines from businesses – which include Burger King, McDonald’s and Starbucks – found violating the plastic ban. The common man, however, has been spared till now.

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