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Govt asks e-commerce firms to discard plastic in packaging products


In line with Indian government plan to phase out single-use plastic from industrial and public use, the commerce and industry ministry has asked e-commerce firms to stop using plastic in packaging products.

These firms are advised to develop alternate and sustainable packaging material.

E-commerce companies, which contribute to about 40% of India’s annual plastic consumption, have been asked to gradually phase out the practice of single-use plastic in packaging products being sold through their platforms, said TOI report quoting govt official.

Almost all the e-commerce firms, including Amazon and Flipkart, have been using plastic to package products. However, they are claiming to make efforts to shift towards eco-friendly packaging gradually.

Amazon said that it has brought down usage of single-use plastic to 7% and plans to stop using them in the next eight months completely.

Whereas Flipkart, which claims to have reduced single-use plastic usage by 25% till August, aims to achieve 100% plastic-free supply chain by March 2021.

The company further added that its also focusing on the usage of electric vehicles in logistics to play its part in creating a sustainable ecosystem.

Earlier this year, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) had sent a show-cause notice to Amazon over the use of bubble wrap plastic packaging.

Meanwhile, industry observers pointed out the lack of complete guidelines and definition of single-use plastic by the govt.

Under the Plastic Waste Free-Swachhata Hi Seva Campaign, the DPIIT has been asking industries to recycle plastic waste. It has also invited CEOs and MDs of industrial estates under the DPIIT to ensure collection and transportation of collected plastic waste.

In India, close to 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated every day. Of this, 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste does not get collected. The starting point of a mass movement to achieve the target by 2022.

Earlier, PM Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech, appealed to shun single-use plastic to protect the environment. All government offices in states and Union territories have been asked to not use plastic in any forms like, carry bags, thermocol disposable cutlery and plastic flags, flowers, water bottles and folders. The Environment Ministry has also asked national parks, zoos and wildlife sanctuaries across the country to become single-use plastic-free.

The govt plans to do away with single-use plastic by 2022.

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