As single-use plastic ban kicks in, Indian businesses flounder

by | Jul 20, 2022 | World

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a reputation for imposing policies suddenly on an unprepared nation, but when he pledged in 2019 to eliminate single-use plastics, food and beverage makers had years to prepare. When the first tranche of items was banned this month, they weren’t ready.Plastic straws are attached to many of the ubiquitous Tetra Paks of juices and other beverages sold in the country. With 19 single-use plastic items banned from July 1, including the straws, companies including  Dabur India Ltd. and Parle Agro Pvt., one of the nation’s largest beverage makers, have been racing to replace them with imported paper versions. Vendors say the change has created a shortage and some stocks of soft drinks boxes have run out.
Modi’s 2019 pledge to eliminate single-use plastics by the end of 2022 set the most ambitious goal in Asia-Pacific, according to Ilhan Savut, analyst at BloombergNEF. The government has repeatedly said that industry has had time to prepare for the change. But the challenge for industry to meet the deadline has been complicated by the lack of domestic alternatives and the pandemic, which snarled supply chains, increasing competition among global buyers.
“The industry is being forced to import at a time when costs are soaring and there are huge disruptions in shipping globally,” said Schauna …

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