This order has come into effect from June 5 this year and appears to be an effort by the state government to augment its plastic ban policy to achieve plastic pollution free state.

man hanging packet of chips and biscuits outside his small shopImage for representation
news Plastic Ban Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 13:30

In what comes as good news to pro-plastic ban advocates, the Tamil Nadu government has now repealed the previously granted exemption to manufacturers of packaged food that allowed them to manufacture and distribute their pre-packaged food items like biscuits, chips, etc., in plastic packing material. This order has come into effect from June 5 this year, and appears to be an effort by the state government to augment its plastic ban policy to achieve plastic pollution free state.

Tamil Nadu had banned single use plastic items, including water pouches, effective from January 1, 2019 in a Government Order, but omitted the exemption for "plastic bags which constitute or form an integral part of packaging in which goods are sealed prior to use at manufacturing/processing units.” Repealing this exemption now, the government has in effect banned use of plastics for packaging at manufacturing and processing units.

Food processing companies that use plastic for packaging eatables, snacks, etc., will not be able to market their products using plastic packaging.

However, among exemptions that continue to be in place include plastic used for packing milk and milk products, oil, medicine, medical equipment, plastic carry bags manufactured exclusively for export orders in a plastic industry located in a Special Economic Zone and Export Oriented Units.

In a batch of petitions, the Madras High Court in 2019 had ordered the government to consider phasing out plastic of any kind in the market, including those exempted. The court, at that point, had added that the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) had also requested removal of the exemption for plastic bags for packaging at manufacturing and processing units.

The exemption for plastic packing of goods, which are sealed prior to use, has not helped the state achieve the goal of "plastic pollution free Tamil Nadu," the TNPCB had said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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