Mumbai, July 9: The Maharashtra state environment ministry has decided to implement a buyback scheme on products like PET Bottles, Milk pouches from Wednesday to encourage plastic recycling mechanism. According to a news report in the Times of India, Maharashtra will be the first state in India to implement the buyback scheme, which is prevalent in 40 other countries.
Once the scheme comes into effect, the retailers will be able to return the bottles and pouches to the manufacturers. Besides, a similar buyback scheme will be brought in for tetra packs in the next three months. The government also believes that the move will help the city overcome the waterlogging issue and the problem of nullahs blockage due to the increasing use of plastic. The report mentions that plastic waste constitutes about 3-5 per cent of all garbage generated in the state.
Besides this, the state government has also introduced a rule, which puts the onus on manufacturers to take responsibility for whatever they produce. As per the 2018 notification regarding the manufacture, usage, sale, transport, handling and storage of plastic, manufacturers have to set up recycling and collection points, so as to collect the plastic they sell to their customers.
As the state is ready to implement the buyback scheme, experts have raised questions about its successful implementation. As per the report, Arvind Shah, of wild west innovations, a company which deals in plastic recycling, suggested that a bar code system should be introduced, so that they can take compensation from manufacturers correctly on the number of PET bottles that have been crushed.
Experts also pointed out at the shortage of recycling units. Following the concerns that have been raised, the state environment department officials stated that they are seeking recommendations from experts and also holding meetings with the manufactures to find out solutions.
The Maharashtra state introduced a statewide plastic ban from April, this year. After the ban on single-use plastic was declared, civic bodies of different cities have geared up to make the ban successful. Mumbai's civic body also decided to levy a fine Rs. 10, 000 to the first-time offenders for using plastic, to create awareness about the ban. Amid the ban, retailers threatened to hold a statewide strike as they were unable to use plastic on retail packing. After the retailers pressed their voice, state relaxed norms for retail packaging.