A gift from the Indian Government ahead of the International plastic bag free day

Mermaid at Bali to highlight plastic pollution

Every year International Plastic Bag Free Day is celebrated on July 3 with the aim to eliminate the use of plastic bags. It was started on July 3, 2008, by a member of Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) Rezero. The holiday was only observed in Catalonia in its inaugural year. A year later, ZWE introduced the International Plastic Bag Free Day to the European Union.

Even if they are convenient, cheap, and readily available they are also a huge strain on the environment. As per reports, it takes over  500 years for plastic bags to disintegrate, so they make up a large portion of what stays in our landfills, these are not only polluting our land, air, and water but also suffocating the animals to death.

Plastic waste has not only become a significant source of pollution in the country but across the globe, it is creating a menace.

Cities and Villages around the country are littered with used plastic goods and the companies like Pepsico, coca-cola, ITC, Britannia and others are neither ready to embrace biodegradable packaging nor are recycling the waste they create.

Thanks to the Government of India which has taken cognizance of the menace created by these plastics and as a gift to the citizen of India it imposed a ban on a few single-use plastics ahead of International plastic bag free day.

We understand that the list of banned items is not comprehensive, if the aim is to get rid of items that are difficult to collect or are single-use then the list should include multi-layered packaging which is mainly used in almost all consumer goods from chips, shampoos, cookies to gutka. These are almost impossible to collect for recycling.

Here are the lists of single-use plastics banned in India

  • Balloon sticks
  • Cigarette packs
  • Cutlery items including plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, trays
  • Earbuds with plastic sticks
  • Sweet boxes
  • Candy and ice cream sticks
  • Invitation cards
  • Polystyrene for decoration
  • PVC banners measuring under 100 microns
  • Plastic flags
  • Straw
  • Packaging film

India uses over14 million tons of plastic annually; it still needs to work on an organized system for managing plastic waste that leads to widespread littering.

The food and beverage and consumer goods companies were lobbying to delay the ban on the single use of plastics, it’s time they start shifting to biodegradables or other alternatives. These companies as part of CSR activities has installed renewable energy source to meet their daily needs and has been touting the same through their PR activities for years now, unfortunately, they never bothered to switch to alternative sources of plastics or rigorously collect and recycle the waste that has already reached beyond our cities to villages.  

Here are a few items that you can use immediately as an alternative to plastics:

  • Bamboo spoons
  • Wooden combs
  • Bamboo bristle toothbrush
  • Copper bottles
  • Bags made out of jute or banana extracts
  • Eco-friendly travel bamboo cutlery kit
  • Metal razors
  • Straws made out of paper or bamboo leaf