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India polymer market braces for lower demand; seeks clarity on ban

India polymer market braces for lower demand; seeks clarity on ban2019.09.19

India’s producers of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are bracing for a decline in consumption once the government’s nationwide ban on single-use plastics take effect in October.

Details circulating among processors and converters on what items exactly would be covered by the ban were not clear enough to lift the bearish mood in the industry, market players said.


According to a draft pamphlet from the Department of Environment of the Maharashtra government, the ban would apply to the following products:

  • Plastic water bottles with a holding capacity of less than 200 millilitre
  • Plastic mineral water pouch
  • Plastic bags with/without handle (include non-woven bags)
  • Single-use disposable items made up of thermocol (polystyrene) or plastic, e.g. dish, spoon, cups, plates, glasses, fork, bowl, container
  • Disposable dish/bowl used for packaging foods in hotels, and straws
  • Compostable plastic bags except for plant nurseries, horticulture, agriculture and handling of solid waste
Whether the same list would be adopted across various Indian states is one cause of uncertainty.

Questions pertaining to the proposed substitutes for these plastic items, as well as possible exemption for specific applications of various polymer products persist, as the industry has developed in complexity over the years.

More clarity is sought on the ban’s impact on multilayer film packaging used in processed goods, according to market players as this was not completely addressed in the guidelines being circulated to the industry.

These uncertainties are stalling trade as they prevent processors and converters from making decisions on their polymer import requirements.

On 2 October, the Indian government will implement the first phase of a nationwide ban on single-use plastics.

The ban is aimed at reducing the country's annual plastic consumption of nearly 16m tonnes by around 5%, according to media reports.

A six-month window will be provided to allow companies and consumers to adopt alternative products, after which penalties will be imposed on violations of the regulation.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on 15 August that the country plans to ban all single-use plastics by 2022.

Source: ICIS

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