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NEW DELHI: Tobacco Institute of India (TII) on Friday said that cigarette manufacturers it represents have shifted from regular plastic wrapping to bio-degradable wrapping for cigarette pack overwrap “well in advance".

TII represents cigarette manufacturers such as ITC Ltd, Godfrey Phillips India, VST Industries as well as exporters, farmers and ancillaries of the tobacco industry in India,

The announcement from TII comes as India has banned manufacturing, imports, distribution and sale of single-use plastic items across the country from 1 July. The list of items included in the ban are ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, and stirrers. 

In a statement released by TII on Friday, the organisation said the bio-degradable material being used is compliant with international standards and the recently released BIS Standards.

TII lauded the government on taking proactive steps to reduce the burden on the environment by banning certain single-use plastic items. 

Reports in a section of media have said the cigarette industry uses regular plastic wrapping for cigarette packs, it added.

“In this context, The Tobacco Institute of India wishes to clarify that its members who manufacture cigarettes, have shifted from regular plastic wrapping to bio-degradable wrapping for cigarette pack overwrap, well in advance," it said in the statement.

“Bio-degradable plastic is environment-friendly. Biodegradation of the biodegradable plastic starts upon coming into contact with soil. This material is extremely beneficial, as it would biodegrade naturally in landfills as well. The biodegradable plastic will not add any strain to the solid waste collection and recycling system. It would also reduce costs associated with collection of plastic waste, recycling of plastic waste, as well as industrial composting," it added.

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