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"We are doomed". Consumer goods companies react to proposed plastic ban

"We are doomed". Consumer goods companies react to proposed plastic ban

"We are doomed". Consumer goods companies react to proposed plastic ban
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By Priya Sheth  Sept 19, 2019 6:52:17 AM IST (Updated)

Consumer goods companies are expressing many concerns on the proposed list of single-use plastic items that the government plans to ban

Consumer goods companies are expressing many concerns on the proposed list of single-use plastic items that the government plans to ban. One big concern surrounds packaging costs of bulk packs, jumbo packs, bundled packs and other value for money formats that are available in the market.

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The initial list proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) include items like thin carry bags, non-woven carry bags, small wrapping, straws, plastic cups, bowls and plates, plastic sticks for earbuds, balloons and flags, cigarette butts, small plastic bottles, thermocol and thin roadside banners. These are just an initial list of 12 items out of the 64 single-use plastic items identified by the government.
With items like thin wrapping and small plastic bags classifying in the proposed ban list, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies estimate an escalation of overall packaging costs for bulk packs.
Sources say that if FMCG companies were to use thicker plastic for bulk packs, it would increase packaging costs by about 15-20 percent. Overwraps or thin plastic wrapping allows for ease of distribution for FMCG companies.
Companies in both the food and non-food space would be impacted by this. Bulk packaging for good like biscuits, chips, soaps, bulk sachet packs and noodles could be impacted by this.
The industry is also seeking clarification on the classification of BOPP under the proposed ban. BOPP refers to biaxially-oriented polypropylene and is a component of food and beverages (F&B) packaging. An appeal on behalf of the industry is likely to be made via associations to the government.
"We are doomed as an industry if the government imposes a ban on so many items in the single-use plastic category. There are so many aspects like shelf life, availability of alternatives etc. that need to be considered before banning an item. International models cannot be copy-pasted in India without context,” said an official from the consumer goods industry.
Overwraps or thin plastics are typically used by FMCG companies to aid easier distribution and also convenient packaging. A large amount of these plastics are also used to sell bulk packs to kiranas and other wholesalers too.
“The overwraps and thin plastics used for bulk wrapping are typically 18-20 microns, if we need to comply with the 50 microns mandate, it would increase costs substantially for us,” said an industry official who did not wish to be identified.
Small and micro enterprises (SMEs) are likely to be most impacted by the increase in packaging costs.
The industry is also seeking clarification on the classification of BOPP under the proposed ban. “BOPP is a very important component in the packaging process and is 100 percent recyclable. There is still no clarity on whether or not it is classified as a single-use plastic item. We will write to the government on this issue and seek clarity,” said an official from the biscuits industry.
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