The environment ministry has launched several initiatives for effective plastic waste management. On April 5, Union minister Bhupender Yadav urged entrepreneurs and start-ups to fi nd alternatives to SUP, and solutions to deal with overall plastic waste. The ministry has got several responses to its “India Plastic Challenge – Hackathon 2021” and has selected innovators like M/s Zero Circle, which makes SUP alternatives from locally cultivated seaweed. There’s also Dharaksha Eco Solutions’ biodegradable packaging material made from crop stubble waste. Recity Network Pvt Ltd has been chosen for its waste intelligence platforms for plastic waste management.
The environment ministry has already framed rules on how producers, importers and brand owners manage the waste mandatorily under extended producer responsibility (EPR) guidelines. The onus is now on pollution watchdog Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to enforce the ban and the EPR rules with the help of state pollution control boards and committees. CPCB member secretary Prashant Gargava told TOI the action plan for the SUP ban focuses on supply as well as demand side interventions, and also on enabling measures.
In a signifi cant supplyside intervention, the Board has directed all leading petrochemical companies, including ONGC, IOC, Reliance Industries and GAIL, not to supply plastic raw materials to the producers of banned SUP items. Gargava said industries are also gearing up for the transition to SUP alternatives, and about 200 makers of ‘compostable plastics’ with a capacity of 3 lakh tonnes per annum (TPA) have already been certifi ed. SUP items like straws, cutlery, thin packaging fi lms, carry bags, etc., can be made from compostable plastics that decompose into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.
A project by SIDBI and the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DICCI) will give 1,000 reverse vending machines (RVMs), made by Theta Enerlytics in India, to Dalit entrepreneurs. The machines accept plastic bottles and shred them, and the shredded plastic can be sold to recyclers. “The concept is not new but we have additional and smart features to make these RVMs more people-friendly,” said Milind Kamble, chairman, DICCI.