Investigating India's Plastics Pact
Kara Fripp, International Account Manager, investigates India’s Plastics Pact, an ambitious collaborative initiative which aims to tackle plastic pollution in India.
Plastic pollution is a growing environmental concern, one that is rapidly turning into a crisis. Unless we change how plastic is designed, used, and re-used, by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in our oceans.
What is a Plastic Pact?
Plastic Pacts are a growing global movement to tackle plastic pollution and there are currently thirteen Plastics Pacts globally – including the UK. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation Plastics Pact Network connects initiatives around the world to implement solutions toward a circular economy for plastics.
A circular economy is where waste does not exist; products and raw materials are designed to be reused for as long as possible. The countries involved are aligned in their goals and share best practices to accelerate the transition from a linear economy (produce, consume and throw away) to a circular economy for plastics.
India’s Plastic Pact
The India Plastics Pact (IPP) is the first of its kind within Asia and is an initiative that brings together businesses, governments, and non-profit organisations to tackle the issue of plastic pollution.
The IPP is a collaboration between WWF India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The pact is supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and WRAP and is aligned with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
The IPP’s vision is “a world where plastic is valued and doesn’t pollute the environment” and its aims are to help businesses keep plastics in use and out of the environment by:
- Eliminating unnecessary and problematic packaging
- Ensuring all packaging is recyclable and reusable
- Effectively recycling (or composting) plastic packaging
- Encouraging the use of increased recycled content
The IPP officially launched in September 2021, with the announcement of its targets and founding members. The four targets are:
- Define a list of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging and items and take measures to address them through redesign and innovation
- 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable
- 50% of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled
- 25% average recycled content across all plastic packaging
Why does India need a Plastics Pact?
The massive generation of plastic waste in India is due to rapid urbanisation and the growth of consumerism, with plastic packaging used across grocery products, cosmetics, and other consumer items. The popularity of online retail and food delivery apps, though restricted to big cities, is also contributing to the rise of plastic waste.
- 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated annually across India.
- 40% of plastic waste goes uncollected, ends up in the seas, oceans, or gets piled up on land, causing huge problems to the world’s ecosystems.
- 43% of all plastics produced in India are used for packaging, with many of them being single-use.
India bans single-use plastic
From July 2022, the central government has banned single-use plastic, this includes items such as plastic glasses, cutlery, straws, etc. The government has also banned the use of plastic carrier bags of all types – irrespective of size and thickness. Shop owners have been asked to help create awareness within the public about the adverse effects of plastic, and to use alternative carry bags made from paper or cloth.
The India Plastics Pact is a positive step in reducing the environmental impact of plastic pollution.
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