Central Pollution Control Commission requests quarterly sales reports from polymer producers to monitor supply ban from single-use plastic makers

In a bid to ensure complete disruption of raw material supply to manufacturers of banned single-use plastic (SUP) products, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India, under the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), ordered polymer producers to submit a quarterly sales report to it.

Proposed to be submitted to the CPCB in a prescribed format, the sales report seeks details of suppliers, resellers and resellers/producers, including the goods and services tax (GST) paid on those sales. This move is intended to fill the gaps, if any, for a complete polymer supply disruption to banned SUP manufacturers. The Board asked polymer producers to submit a report on the measures taken on a quarterly basis.

The CPCB has warned polymer producers to take appropriate action, including levying environmental compensation against the company/industry that fails to provide these details within a specified time frame.

A letter addressed to producers of primary polymers reads: “Manufacturers of plastic raw materials must provide details of the sale of their products on a quarterly basis to the CPCB from July 1, 2022. Necessary measures must be taken to ensure compliance with this directive and action taken report to be submitted on a quarterly basis failing which appropriate action, including the collection of environmental compensation, will be taken against your business/industry.”

In the letter dated June 10 addressed to all primary polymer producers, the CPCB directed them not to supply plastic raw materials to formal/informal sector producers engaged in the production of banned SUP items. In addition, the letter directed suppliers/stockists/distributors and other entities engaged in the industry supply chain not to supply plastic raw materials to producers engaged in the production of SUP items.

These instructions aim to implement a complete ban on the production of SUP items from July 1, 2022, as notified in August last year. Several companies in the downstream sector have already discontinued the production of SUP items and ordered distributors/stockists/wholesalers/dealers and retailers to immediately eliminate these products from their premises.

By notification dated August 12, 2021, the MoEF&CC had ordered a ban on the identified SUP items and also prescribed the minimum thickness of carry bags from July 1, 2022. To implement this order, the government amended the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, and bans the manufacture, import, storage, distribution, sale and use of identified SUP items, including expanded polystyrene, on July 1, 2022.

The list of prohibited products includes headphones with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks and polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration. Also, plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straws, strays, wrapping or wrapping films around candy boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 microns, agitators, etc. plastic are also banned.

The amended PWM rules mandate that carries virgin or recycled plastic bags must be no less than 75 microns in thickness as of September 30, 2022 and 120 microns as of December 31, 2022.

“Normally, scavengers don’t select thin plastic carrier bags because these bags don’t offer viable fulfillment. As a result, thin plastic bags are either incinerated in the seas, clogging drainage systems or making way for landfills, creating air, water and soil pollution. On the other hand, scavengers find it worthwhile to choose thick plastic bags. This means that thick plastic bags will be sent for recycling, which will ultimately protect our environment for present and future generations. Therefore, we have switched to compostable polymer for the production of environmentally friendly biodegradable plastics,” said a senior official of the company engaged in the production of biodegradable plastic items.

Meanwhile, the apex industry body representing chemical and petrochemical producers across India Chemicals and Petrochemicals Manufacturers Association (CPMA) has recommended the CPCB to order polymer producers to mention “Do not use in the manufacture of SUP items prohibited by PWM Rules, 2016” on all generated invoices and all packaging bags (25kg/jumbo) of plastic raw material no later than October 1, 2022.

The CPCB also ordered companies to mention an advisory note on all memorandums of understanding (MoU), sales contracts, price lists, etc. to make buyers liable to take responsibility for preventing the use of polymers for the production of banned SUP items.

In addition, the Commission has requested plastic raw material manufacturers to provide the complete list of customers to which all quantities of plastic raw materials are sold, on an annual basis to CPCB within one month after the end of the exercise.

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