Draft Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021

The environment ministry unveiled a set of draft rules that propose to ban several categories of single-use plastic items. The proposed prohibition on their manufacture, use, sale, import and handling is in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement in 2019 on phasing out single-use plastic by 2022. The draft Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2021 is proposed to be implemented in three stages starting this year and culminating in mid-2022. The first set of rules has been proposed for plastic bags with effect from September 30. The rules propose that each sheet of non-woven plastic carry bag shall not be less than 60 (GSM per square metre) or 240 microns in thickness. A carry bag made of virgin or recycled plastic shall not be less than 120 microns, with effect from the same date. The second stage will come into effect from January 1 next year when six categories of single-use plastic — earbuds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration — will be banned for sale, use, manufacture, stocking, import and distribution. In the third stage — from July 1, 2022 — the list of banned items will grow. It will include single-use plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping/packing films around sweet boxes; invitation cards; cigarette packets, plastic/PVC banners less than 100 micron and stirrers.