Although an ambitious and what some might even consider a welcome change to India’s snowballing plastic crisis, the announcement has brought with it several questions.
The ‘Report on Single Use Plastics’, worked on by an expert committee constituted by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals (DCPC), has categorised plastic products based on their environmental impact and utility — those found to have the lowest utility and highest environmental impact are recommended for a phase-out. These include thin carry bags (less than 50 micron); non-woven carry bags and covers (less than 80 gsm and 320 microns); small wrapping/ packing films; straws/ stirrers; cutlery such as foam cups, bowls; earbuds with plastic sticks; cigarette filters; small plastic bottles; plastic banners; among other products.
Interestingly, the report also mentions that on examining bans and other restrictions on plastic products issued by various State governments and Union Territories, the expert committee ‘noted that the guidelines lack uniformity and vary widely in different parts of the country’.
Where are the corporations? A cursory glance at the list highlighting the environmental adverse impact score of SUPs makes it evident that these are products being churned out by small and medium manufacturers. Larger corporations that mass-produced everything from furniture and bags to multi-layered packaging and bottles are missing.
Minderoo Foundation’s ‘Plastic Waste-Makers Index’, released earlier this year, reveals the companies that produce 90% of all SPU waste generated globally. The list includes Reliance Industries, GAIL India, Indian Oil Corporation, and Haldia Petrochemicals from India.
Packaging and EPR woes: Plastic packaging (flexible and rigid) contributes almost 60% of the total plastic waste generated, as a report from the Centre for Science and Environment finds. These include everyday products such as food wrappers, wrapping films, etc., but packaging waste hasn’t been listed for a phase-out.
The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 had proposed for these to be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through extended producer responsibility (EPR) of the producer, importer and brand owner (PIBO). ‘Five years later, the EPR for plastic waste management remains only on paper, due to non-compliance by PIBOs and weak enforcement by authorities,’ states Down to Earth. ‘The Ministry’s assumption that the PIBOs will start complying now is puzzling.’
The expert committee’s report backs this, and states that the EPR concept in India is largely connected with litter and other environmental issues but has not even begun to be implemented. This is yet another missing link in India’s plastic ban policy.
Busting the bio-plastic bubble: Next come the infamous ‘bio-plastics’ and other compostable, oxo-degradable and oxo-biodegradable plastics — primarily used for grocery bags or carry bags. While you may feel a tad better opting for these bags rather than polythene ones, how ‘sustainable’ or ‘plastic-free’ they really are is an altogether different story. Remember, not all bio and plant-based plastics are biodegradable, and not all ‘green’ or biodegradable plastics are bio-based.
In addition, they require separate composting facilities created with specific environmental conditions. The Report mentions that the conditions required for the decomposition of compostable bags do not exist in India’s municipal landfills. Most importantly, compostable plastic packaging is not a blanket solution, but rather one for specific, targeted applications as a majority of compostable plastics are more expensive than conventional plastics, and not available in sufficient quantities in India. The recycling process gets impacted when conventional and compostable plastics are mixed.
The informal workforce: According to the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the plastics recycling industry in India employs over 1.6 million people and has more than 7,500 recycling units. It is a known fact that recycling has been managed by extremely small players, who employ elementary waste segregation processes and lack scientific know-how on waste collection, segregation, and disposal.
The plastic industry not only needs an upgradation of technology for mechanical recycling, as the Report mentions, but requires investing in educating these players, and providing them incentives to manage waste wisely.
Key in this list of players are the waste pickers — estimated to be between 1.5 million and 4 million. We need measures to improve the way they function. They need to be given ID cards, authorisations, incentives for their health, welfare, education, etc. If rules for source segregation and preventing the mix of plastics are enforced, it will go a long way in easing the lives of rag-pickers and making their job safer.
Worse, the pandemic has made the battle against plastic tougher — given the rise in PPE kits and disposable masks — but the war against SUPs has been going on for decades. Like every other segment of Indian society, we have the rules, but there is no implementation. The polluters continue to pollute, and the dump yards grow higher by the minute. Unless there is strong data to support which product needs to be banned and how to go about it, besides putting existing rules into effect, India’s plastic crisis will be far from over.
Unilever, Henkel, L’Oreal, LVMH and Natura &Co invite the cosmetics sector to join the consortium
Henkel, L’Oréal, LVMH, Natura &Co, and Unilever announce a new global collaboration to co-develop an industry-wide environmental impact assessment and scoring system for cosmetics products. The aim is to co-design an approach that is brand-agnostic, and which provides consumers with clear, transparent and comparable environmental impact information, based on a common science-based methodology. They are inviting other cosmetics companies to join them in this pursuit.
Companies seeking to automate their operations typically have two choices: a workhorse industrial robot, intended to replace human workers, or a defter cobot, designed for lighter work performed in collaboration with or in close proximity to humans. But a new category of robots, called sidebots, seeks to provide the best of both worlds.
Swiss company Wyzo claims to have developed the world’s first direct-drive pick-and-place sidebot, which it says can work side-by-side with human workers in the food and beverage, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, automotive, electrical, and electronics industries. The company says its namesake sidebot is 10 times faster than a typical cobot, providing up to 80 picks per minute. At 5.5 square feet and less than six feet tall, the Wyzo is six times more compact than a typical industrial robot. And thanks to sensors that can detect nearby human activity, it does not need to be surrounded by protective barriers.
Working at 2,000 to 5,000 cycles per hour, the Wyzo is best suited for medium-sized production batches, although users can boost capacity by combining several sidebots. It was designed with an intuitive human-machine interface and requires no programming or scripts to operate.
Store in the Box™ includes several of the company’s sustainable paper-based packaging solutions, allows stores to bypass traditional fulfilment centers and ship orders from local stores.
The new Vatika face wash will be available in a 150-ml SKU. It comes in three variants – Vatika Neem Purifying face wash, Vatika Sandalwood Illuminating face wash and Vatika Honey Moisture Boost face wash.
Rajat Mathur, AGM, consumer marketing, Dabur India, said, “Vatika has always recognised and strived to meet the ever-evolving needs of our consumers. We are excited to strengthen our Vatika portfolio with the launch of new Vatika face wash. Be it hair oil or shampoo, Dabur Vatika has evolved as the preferred personal care brand for millions of consumers over the years. With the new Vatika face wash, we are now expanding the Vatika franchise to give consumers a soap and paraben-free product for their daily face care needs.”
K Ganapathy Subramaniam, DGM, marketing (innovations), Dabur India, said: “The launch of Vatika face wash demonstrates Dabur's continued commitment to providing innovative natural skin care products of the highest quality standards, without compromise. Each variant of the new range has a unique ingredient that solves specific face-skin problems. Vatika Face Wash is dermatologically tested and is paraben and soap-free and has 100% natural actives.”
The FPA said it has given the CMA its full support and has made observance of the Green Claims Code part of the FPA Code of Practice, to which all members sign their agreement as a condition of membership.
Executive director Martin Kersh said: “The code is laid out very clearly so there is no reason why businesses of all sizes and in all markets, including online marketplaces, should fail to understand that they must be able to provide evidence and certification from recognised organisations for all the environmental based claims they make for their packaging
“We regularly come across packaging producers who believe evidence from their material providers is sufficient to justify their claims. That has never been the case and we hope the Code, which quotes only finished items and services as presented to the user throughout, will eliminate this myth once and for all and that all packaging producers will understand evidence is needed for claims made for their finished packs and so pay to certify the finished packaging in line with responsible producers.
“We also hope the code will stop the use of ‘made up’ certifications used to give quasi credence to claims such as being 100% plastic free or biodegradable. Made up certifications are designed to mislead the trade, especially the independent sector and their customers. Our analysis revealed claims made for biodegradability for packaging certified as compostable, but this is only achieved as a result of industrial composting. We hope offenders will now understand misrepresenting genuine certificates is a breach of the code.
“The acid test for the success of the code will be the extent to which enforcement is undertaken against transgressors. We will certainly have no hesitation in referring transgressors to the CMA, but it is our hope that packaging producers will adhere to the code so avoiding the heavy fines that follow for breaching it. We recommend all those involved in packaging including those in marketing, design and sales read the Code as a matter of priority.”
An innovative development from Greiner Packaging is revolutionizing the recyclability of cardboard-plastic combinations. Making sure that waste was sorted correctly used to be fully reliant on consumers playing their part. But now with K3® r100, the cardboard wrap and the plastic cup separate all by themselves on the way to the recycling facility. This makes the packaging solution ideal for recycling.
• New desiccant stopper with spiral carries dual benefit for tube packaging - easy opening and protection from moisture
• It is part of Airnov's expanding range of products made from renewable materials, helping to reduce emissions and work towards sustainability targets
• The stopper will be unveiled at Pharmapack 2021 and available worldwide in a range of colors from Q4 2021
• Meet us at Pharmapack, Booth F50
The company says its new flexible packaging solutions were developed in collaboration with Innotech’s R+D+I Centre, as well as EMSUR’s Saymopack and EMSUR SPO’s production sites in Valencia and Ballée respectively.
According to EMSUR, the EM-Full RFlex range replaces conventional duplex structures with monomaterial substrates to provide “excellent barrier and sealing properties” to the packaging.
It adds that its new laminate is aimed at fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) customers, who require packaging solutions for bags, pouches or Doypakcs with monomaterial compositions.
The barrier properties of the new range are apparently suitable for various product categories, including snacks, confectionery, coffee and tea, fresh and processed food, and home and personal care.
EMSUR further claims that the new range can be used as a packaging solution and recyclable alternative for food products that require BIO, Natural or Organic positionings.
In addition, the flexible packaging range will be available in transparent and printed film, with customers having the option of different varnishes, gloss, matte, or paper effects. The EM-Full RFlex range, it adds, is applicable to both rotogravure and flexographic printing.
The new range is also transferable worldwide to other plants in the EMSUR Group.
EMSUR says that its new flexible packaging range is part of its ongoing pledge to sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of its packaging, alongside its commitments to food preservation, availability, and safety.
Last year, EMSUR joined CEFLEX’s initiative promoting a circular economy model in the flexible packaging industry, which includes plans for collecting, sorting, and reprocessing post-consumer flexible packaging throughout Europe.
EMSUR also unveiled a compostable barrier bag in January 2020, responding to the demand for a two or three-layer barrier bag that is reportedly of sustainable origin and offers compostable characteristics. This flexible packaging solution was specifically designed for the coffee market.
At INTERPHEX NYC, WIPOTEC-OCS to Demonstrate Serialization & Aggregation Units Compatible with Its End-of-Line Checkweighing Modules
TQS-SP Serialization Unit & TQS-CP Aggregation Unit provide efficient, exacting pharma-mandated carton traceability, and can be integrated with company’s signature Electro-Magnetic Force Restoration (EMFR) weigh cells.