As authorities enforce ban on SUP, industry emerges with alternate Compostable Products

Sanjeev K Sharma
JAMMU, July 3: While the Government of India (GoI) has clamped a nationwide ban on the manufacture, sale, use and storage of Single Use Plastic (SUP) from July 1 this year, the industry in Jammu has come out with an alternate.
However, the concerned authorities in Jammu claimed that the ban was, to a large extent, in force here for the last three years.
It is pertinent to mention here that as per GoI’s notification number G.S.R 571(E) Dated 12-08-2021 about 17 SUP items were banned and J&K Pollution Control Committee (JKPCC) has published advertisements in this regard in leading newspapers of the Union Territory.
These 17 items are-earbuds with plastic stick, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, polythene (thermocol) for decoration, plates, cups, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, stirrers, plastic/PVC banners less than 100 micron and wrapping or packing films around sweets’ boxes/invitation cards/cigarette packets.
“The present ban is throughout India while we have got stopped the production of much of such items in J&K way back in 2019,” said Sat Pal Pakhroo, Regional Director JKPCC Jammu adding that whatsoever SUP was in use here during these years was brought from outside in a clandestine way.
“The SUP already in circulation in the market will be seized if we get any report of that as teams of Pollution Control Board (PCB) have already been constituted for the purpose and these will operate with the assistance of police and Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) in coordination,” he maintained.
Pakhroo further said that directions have already been given to all the departments of the Government regarding the ban.
“In Jammu, the situation is better than many other places as plastic disposable cups, plates etc were very less in use here in restaurants and other places since the last three years,” he informed.
The Regional Director also said, though the situation is better in Jammu, yet, the ground implementation of the ban may take some time and things will improve within days.
Randeep Singh Manhas, Subject Matter Specialist at Plastic Waste Management section of JKPCC informed that the ban was in force in J&K as per SRO 231 of 2019, enforcing ban on many items which are now being banned and 80 per cent of the problem has already been solved in J&K.
“Certain items like earbud sticks, candy sticks, ice cream sticks etc which were not banned earlier were in use here while most of other items in the present banned list were already banned in J&K,” he said adding: “Though the ban has been enforced strictly from July 1, 2022, campaign for the same was going on since long and we had already got closed the industries manufacturing SUP products in Jammu.”
“Traders, manufacturers and others linked with the business of SUP were bringing things from outside and they were told to nullify their inventory till June 30 this year,” he said.
Manhas also said that proper survey and surveillance is being carried out on regular basis to check the use of SUP and polythene and teams have been made for that with PCB as regulatory authority monitoring all the operations in this regard.
He said that violations against the ban on SUP items may invite seizures and penalties.
In a positive development, amidst the ban, industrial sector of Jammu has come out with an alternate to SUP products.
Shalimar Thermofarming Private Limited at Bari Brahmana, the only manufacturer of Compostable Products in Jammu, has claimed that these products can be used in making environment friendly items which may act as alternate to SUP products.
“We are making Compostable Products and Compostable Sheets for the last three years and have many orders under execution but the raw material availability for this product is very less but we feel that things will improve slowly,” Industrialist S.C Dutta, Proprietor of Shalimar Thermofarming Private Limited told this reporter.
He said that Compostable Sheets and Products biodegrades and decays in 180 days in compostable conditions like putting these in pits.
“Heat and moisture in the pit disintegrates these Compostable Products. We are also exporting some of these sheets to Gurugram as these Compostable Sheets are used to make lids which big corporate houses use as glass lids while presently there is no consumption of these sheets locally in Jammu,” Dutta said.
He informed that every month 3-4 ton of such sheets remain in demand from his industry and he has also sent samples of these products to Mauritius.
The Industrialist further said that as the ban on SUP items came into force in the year 2019, the substitute Compostable Products were costly and were also not fit for hot application like tea and coffee but were good only for cold applications like serving soft drinks etc and hence these products didn’t found any proper market as these were also not good for food packaging.
“Compostable Sheets used to make Compostable Products failed to come out of industry as plastic was more readily available and very cheap comparatively,” he maintained.
Dutta said that today many companies are doing R&D on Compostable Products and may be in coming 5-6 months the material for hot applications also come to the market.
Some industrialists have expressed concern over the closure of Sun Polymers at Muthi, who used to make products, now banned under SUP, as the manufacturer could not switch over and suffered losses to the tune of Rs. 80 lakhs.
They said the Government should rehabilitate such industries.