New Delhi — Plastics industry leaders in India say they see opportunities as global supply chains look for alternatives to China, but one prominent European industry leader says the country should send a signal to investors and move beyond plastic bans.
"The world is now looking beyond China post-COVID, and its shutdown created serious supply-chain challenges," said Jigesh Doshi, president of the Plastindia Foundation, an umbrella group of the country's largest plastics business associations. "Now everyone is talking about 'China-plus-one,' which offers huge opportunities for India."
But in an interview at the Plastindia 2023 show, held Feb. 1-5 in New Delhi, a prominent European plastics machinery executive said the country's bans on single-use plastics send the wrong signal.
Ulrich Reifenhäuser, managing director of German extrusion machinery firm Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co., said that while the company has a five-decade presence in India with hundreds of equipment installations, some of the government's plastics policies work against making a more direct investment.
He advocated instead for the government to give time for its new extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies to work.
"India is a growing and stable market for us all these years but banning plastic [scares] us," he said. "We can only commit ourselves to a larger presence if there is a strong commitment from the government and its policies that say plastic is good and reliable. With EPR for the plastic sector introduced in India, let it mature with government support."
While the country has adopted some single-use plastics bans, the head of the Plastindia show said they have do not seem to have hurt India's larger plastics industry, which is recording double digit annual growth.
"Single-use plastics do not impact the industry growth, as they are below 5 percent of the total production," said Ajay Shah, chairman of the Plastindia 2023 show.
In February 2022, years after conceptualizing EPR policies for plastic in 2016 through the government's Plastic Waste Management Rules, India put down more specific rules and fines for violations based on the 'polluter pays' principle.