Top beverage companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Bisleri, have initiated a buyback programme for all PET bottles sold in Maharashtra.
Under the programme, a predefined buyback price will have to be mandatorily printed on the larger PET/PETE bottles.
Most companies have set the buyback value at Rs 15 per kg for PET bottles and Rs 5 per kg for shrink wraps.
The beverage companies have already started printing the buyback value on all the PET bottles sold in the state.
The companies are working with Gem Enviro to set up reverse vending machines, collection points and collection centres for PET waste bottles at several locations across the state to enable the buyback programme.
• In March 2018, the state of Maharashtra enforced a state-wide ban on the manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of single-use plastic items, including carry bags, disposable plates and cutlery and even thermocol.
• However, a month later, the state government lifted the ban on small plastic bottles, while announcing a buyback scheme for bigger bottles.
• Under the scheme, a predefined buyback price would have to be mandatorily printed on larger PET/PETE bottles.
• Though the government had authorised the manufacturers to determine the buyback price, it had recommended a buyback price of Rs 1 over the MRP for bottles with a capacity of 1 litre or more and Rs 2 extra for bottles of over 200 ml.
• However, customers who returned the plastic bottles to shopkeepers would be refunded the amount printed on them as per the scheme.
• The scheme drew criticism due to lack of clarity on where the bottles can be returned, at retailers or at collection centres.
• The scheme also drew criticism for being restrictive, as it prevents the manufacturers from supplying bottles made in Maharashtra to any other state and bringing or selling bottles from outside the state.
• Many manufacturers also seem to be struggling with a roadmap to achieve this goal.
• Earlier in July, the state government was compelled to delay the implementation of the buyback scheme when not a single local manufacturer managed to submit their plans for the collection/recycling of plastic bottles by the previous deadline of July 11.
• However, the initiative has caught the attention of several other states including Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand, which have already started hinting at implementing similar plastic use restrictions.
On the occasion of the World Environment Day in June 2018, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan made a pledge to eliminate all forms of single-use plastic from the country by 2022.