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The Maharashtra government has tweaked its single-use plastic policy to allow a few things. As per the updated policy, it is now allowed to produce straws, cups, plates, forks and spoons from "compostable" materials, as per a senior official. A four-year plastic ban has now been partially eased by the Maharashtra government. The directive took effect on an immediate basis.

The action will come as a relief for producers of plastic goods, according to Pravin Darade. According to the secretary of the environment and climate change department (ECCD), allowing the production of single-use items made of biodegradable materials was already in demand. In 2018, the Maharashtra government outlawed single-use plastic.

However, the Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology (CIPET) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) approval for these products will be required, stated Darade. “It means the manufacturers will have to obtain the approval in advance and items will have the imprint of the certification from the authorities concerned," a senior ECCD official told HT.

The usage of things made of compostable material was approved by a panel from the ECCD after the prohibition on single-use plastic and thermocol products had been evaluated. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde presided over the panel.

Compostable plastic bags used in plant nurseries, horticulture, agriculture, and the processing of solid waste were up until now exempt from the state's plastic prohibition. According to the environment department, the modifications are being made to align the state's policy with the one that the federal government approved last year. However, officials said that the industries are exerting pressure on them.

“The plastic packaging material shall be more than 50 microns in thickness - in case the thickness of plastic sheets impairs the functionality of the product, the packaging material may be less than 50 microns," said a notification issued by the ECCD.

In March 2018, Maharashtra outlawed all types of plastic bags, regardless of thickness (with or without handles), nonwoven polypropylene bags, single-use plastic items like plates, cups, spoons, glasses, bowls, straws, and forks, disposable plastic containers used in hotels and restaurants, plastic sheets smaller than 50 microns used to wrap or store goods and plastic pouches to store food.

(With PTI inputs)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sounak Mukhopadhyay

Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and social media. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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