India has banned manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of identified single use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, all across the country from July 1, 2022.
Identified single-use items which are banned include:
• Earbuds with plastic sticks
• Plastic sticks for balloons
• Plastic flags
• Candy sticks
• Ice-cream sticks
• Polystyrene (Thermocol) for decoration
• Plastic plates
• Cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives,
straw & trays
• Wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes
• Invitation cards
• Cigarette packets
• Plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers
Other films and bags :
(thermocol for decora on)
(with less than 100 microns)
Plastic Bags below 120 microns
Less than 200 ml drinking water PET / PETE bottles
having liquid holding capacity and plastic mineral pouches
Plastic Bags with handle and without handle below 120 microns
All nonwoven bags made of polypropylene
One-time made up use / single-use disposable items madeup of Thermocol (polystyrene) or plastic . Dishes, Spoon, Straws, Fork, Kinfe, plates, glasses, bowl, containers Etc.
Any Compostable plastic bags expect for plant nurseries, horticulture, agriculture & handling of solid waste
Following are banned
Alternative to These :
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES FOR SINGLE-USE PLASTICS? The EU identified the following single-use plastic items which are commonly found in the European beaches and largely contribute to marine litter.
Cotton bud sticks
Cutlery, plates, straws and stirrers
Balloons and sticks for balloons
Cups for beverages
Packets and wrappers
Wet wipes and sanitary items
Fortunately, nowadays, you can find sustainable alternatives in most places. There are physical as well as online stores where you will definitely be lucky to find such alternatives. Physical
Bulk stores and unwrapped stores
Eco-friendly supermarkets or organic grocers
In the below list you find some common examples of reducing your single-use plastic consumption
Cling Wrap → Beeswax wraps Grocery store, online or DIY Bottled water → Reusable water bottle & tap water* Anywhere To-go beverage → Travel mug * Straws and plastic cutlery → Bamboo or other types of reusable cutlery, edible cutlery Plastic produce bag → Non, reusable produce bag Plastic shopping bag → Reusable bag Balloons, including string/holder → Bubbles, kites, paper ribbons and streamers, flags, tissue balls Note that even though biodegradable balloons made from natural latex exist, they have been proven to not biodegrade under the industry standard of 12 weeks in an industrial composter. DIY, online, decoration supplies, toy stores Cigarette buds → Biodegradable cigarettes and filters
Sponges and dish clothes → Scrubbers and cloths made from natural fibres Resealable plastic bags → Containers, silicon bags Plastic bag for freezing or trash → Biodegradable bag or container
Cleaning products → Bar soap, dissolvable cleaning pods Toothpaste and mouthwash → Toothpaste/ mouthwash tablets Soap, shampoo etc. → All exist in form of bars Plastic cotton bud → Single-use cotton bud made from bamboo or paper or reusable cotton bud Menstrual products (tampons, pads) → Menstrual cups, reusable pads, period underwear plastic-free products Wet wipes, diapers → Washable cloth diapers, plastic-free and biodegradable diapers/ wet wipes
Repurposing single-use plastic gives it a longer life. When it comes to any product, making it last and taking care of it is key. There are some ways you can increase the life cycles of your single-use plastic items. Here are some examples:
Resealable takeout containers → Food storage (they are often even microwavable)
Resealable plastic bags from nuts or chips → Food packaging for snacks on the go
Soap and shampoo and detergent bottles → Refill (use refill packs, bulk stores or refill stations at local supermarkets)
Plastic bag packaging → Trash bag
Yoghurt container → Disposable cups for parties, vases and plant pots, storage containers if resealable
Resealable food containers → Storing smaller items such as screws, hairpins or paperclips (the containers are often transparent so it’s easy to see what’s inside)
So what now? In order to make it easier to start reducing your single-use plastic consumption, we have summarized some simple actions:
The single-useBring a reusable water bottle
Take a reusable bag when going shopping
Choose to have your coffee or meal to stay and avoid packaging
Buy unpackaged foods
Switch to soap and shampoo bars
While civic-led activities such as beach clean-up initiatives are a way to fight the problem, it is not enough to just react to the ever-growing amount of trash, single-use plastic has to be avoided in order for it to never make its way into our oceans.
It is important that we become aware and active in the political developments that determine how we can reduce and resolve our big problem with plastic. While governments are starting to ban certain items such as plastic straws or plastic cutlery, many other plastic products are still available and widely used. For all of this, it is nonetheless important to remember that nobody is perfect and avoiding plastic completely is impossible. Instead, focus on making the more sustainable choice whenever possible.
1.Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
Clear hard plastic is often used for single-use food and drink packaging. Also known as RPET and the most commonly recycled plastic. The recycled PET can be used to make fibres for clothes, film and sheeting or new food packaging.
2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Hard and non-transparent plastic is often used for cleaning products and shampoo bottles. This type of plastic is easy to recycle, however, it cannot be mixed with any other type of plastic as it will damage the end product. When recycled it can be turned into new shampoo bottles, buckets, flowerpots, film and sheeting or even floor tiles.
3.Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
This type of plastic is less stiff and often used for piping and vinyl. Products made from it have a relatively short lifetime of up to 50 years. PVC has to be separated from other plastics before recycling as it contains a high amount of chlorine and other hazardous components. It can be turned into piping, floor tiles & mats, fences, cables, film and sheeting and traffic cones.
4. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
A soft and flexible plastic is used for frozen food bags and plastic bags. This type of plastic film has to be separated from hard plastic and distinguished by colour and transparency in order to create a useful end product. It can become furniture, trash bags, shipping envelopes and film and sheeting.
5. Polypropylene (PP)
Often used for bottle caps, medicine bottles, yoghurt containers and straws. This is one of the least recycled types of plastic as the recycling process takes 5 steps: collection, sorting, cleaning, reprocessing and melting (first to remove contamination and then to shape the product). Recycled PP is used in cars, oil funnels, storage bins and shipping pallets.
6. Polystyrene (PS)
Trademarked as styrofoam and often found in takeaway food and drinks. Is rarely recycled as it contains a high amount of air and needs special and often expensive facilities to be reformed. When recycled it can be used for thermal isolation, plastic moulding, packaging and eggshell cartons.
7. Other Plastics (0)
This category includes CDs, mixed plastics and large plastic products. This includes Polycarbonates (PC) is the most difficult one to recycle as it involves chemicals, and the end product tends to be less resilient as well as mixed plastic which cannot be separated.
BIO-BASED PLASTICS Bio-based plastics are bioplastics that are partly or fully made out of biological raw materials. This can lead to confusion, as bio-based plastic stands just as much for plastic mixtures made from biological raw materials, such as corn, sugarcane or seaweed, AND petrochemicals, i.e. crude oil or natural gas. BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS This leads us to ask questions. First question: Are bio-based plastics also biodegradable? Yes, but not all. Biodegradable plastics refer to bioplastics that decompose in a specific environment (water, compost, soil) under the right conditions and at a certain period of time. Considering that bio-based bioplastic is made from biological raw materials, it is easy to see why they could also be biodegradable. It seems like they are almost like our other everyday, biological refuse such as our kitchen scraps or garden trimmings. An example of biodegradable, bio-based bioplastics is the polylactic acid (PLA) plastic which is often used as a lining for disposable, paper coffee cups. Second question: Does this mean that bioplastics could be bio-based but not biodegradable? Yes. Remember the 7 Different Types of Petroplastics →? They could also be produced using biological raw materials, and when they are, they will be considered bioplastics. Examples of these are bio-based polyethene-terephthalate (bio-PE), bio-polypropylene (bio-PP), and bio-polyamide (bio-PA). Though they are not biodegradable, they are still considered to be more sustainable than their petroplastic counterparts since manufacturing them from more renewable, biological materials produce less greenhouse gas emissions. Now is when it gets tricky. You may ask: Are there bioplastics that are biodegradable but not bio-based? Yes. The bioplastic poly(butylene-adipate-co-terephthalate) or PBAT is mainly derived from crude oil though it has been shown that it could be mixed with other bio-based bioplastics such as PLA. PBAT has been gaining attention the last few years since it can be produced under conventional manufacturing methods (i.e., this means it could satisfy market demands right away), has excellent properties, and is biodegradable (Jian et al., 2020). Currently, it is marketed in the EU under the brand names ecoflex® (pure PBAT) and ecovio® (blend of PBAT and PLA) and is manufactured by the Germany-based company BASF.
HOW SUSTAINABLE ARE BIOPLASTICS? Bioplastics are now being used to make all kinds of items such as trash bags, single-use cutlery, food and cosmetic packaging as well as products such as toys and electronics. While bioplastics are generally considered to be more sustainable and are increasing in production, there are still issues associated with it. For example, there are concerns that bioplastics derived from corn or sugarcane issues could increase the demand from farming space when there is already a problem with limited farming space. However, some bioplastic manufacturers such as Traceless try to resolve this by using leftover agricultural products instead. By doing so, it avoids the need to use additional agricultural land for its production. Alternatively, seaweed could be used as a material for bioplastic as it can be farmed using less water and no land space is needed. Some companies are even experimenting with edible seaweed packaging making it a potential replacement for plastic water bottles or sandwich wraps.