The central government in India will ban many single-use plastics by 2022 by amending the Plastic Waste Management Rules.
Under the new rules, introduced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, single-use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, are being phased out and will be completely banned from July 1, 2022.
Targeted are: cotton swabs with plastic sticks; plastic sticks for balloons; plastic flags; candy sticks; ice cream sticks; polystyrene for decoration; foodservice items such as plates, cups, glasses, straws and cutlery.
The changes will also ban packaging films for candy boxes, invitation cards and cigarette packs.
However, in stark contrast to the laws on similar banned single-use plastic items in the European Union, the new rules do not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic.
In addition, plastic merchandise bags must have a minimum of 75 microns of thickness starting Sept. 30. That minimum rises to 120 microns at the end of 2022.
All plastic packaging waste not covered by these rules must be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through an extended producer responsibility rule.
The Ministry has also instituted a national-level task force that will coordinate efforts to eliminate the single-use plastic items on the list and to drive the effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules.
At the same time, it has launched an awareness campaign that includes a pan-India essay writing competition in schools on the theme.
To encourage innovation in the development of alternatives to identified single-use plastic items and digital solutions to plastic waste management, the India Plastic Challenge Hackathon 2021, has been organized for students at institutes for higher education, and for startups recognized under the Startup India initiative.