How biodegradable is that cloth bag your local shopkeeper handed out to you after the plastic ban came into force? Does it have any plastic content? These are some of the questions that a committee formed by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is examining after it emerged that many variants of “cloth” bags being circulated were in fact made of plastic.
The committee is scrutinising the percentage of plastic content in the various alternatives that have emerged in the market, including the popular polypropylene bags and paper cups that have a layer of plastic within to make them more sturdy.
Though many retail outlets, shopkeepers and hoteliers have shifted to other options such as paper and cloth bags since the ban came into force, not many of them are aware of polypropylene bags being sold in the guise of cloth bags.
The committee, consisting also of experts from the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, Mysuru, is expected to come out with a verdict on how plastic-free these “biodegradable” alternatives are. Significantly, some form of certification is likely to be proposed before such alternatives are allowed to be circulated in the market.
“The committee is also inspecting the effectiveness of the plastic ban apart from the alternatives available,” KSPCB Chairman Lakshman told The Hindu.
Cracking the whip
Meanwhile, officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, which has been seizing plastic, said they had also been cracking the whip on these non-biodegradable options that are found everywhere. “The logic is simple … anything that is use-and-throw is plastic,” said a senior official.
At age 17, Nagaveni (Aralipura village) was forced to drop-out from college (II PUC, Science) as her family was unable to support her. Her father is unreliable and visits the family occasionally from Kerala where he works as a construction worker. Her mother supplements the family income by working as a casual labourer. Nagaveni has a severely handicapped brother who requires constant care. She and her mother do much of the care-taking. Nagaveni has learnt a few skills such as home-gardening, food processing etc (in addition to sustainable agriculture). However, since they do not own land and her grandfather refuses to allow her to study or work outside the home, she has decided to make paper bags to earn an income. She is able to make about 500 paper bags a week. Nagaveni is also learning tailoring and she hopes to take to tailoring and paper-bag making as a key source of income. She is currently orienting other girls and women in her neighbourhood so that they can form a group to work on making the paper bags. Visfortec helps Nagaveni in promoting these bags in the urban areas.
Several stores operating in three malls were on Wednesday found to be violating the plastic ban.
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike officials searched stores in UB City where 12 stores were found to be storing plastic illegally.
Besides that, they were taken to task for not segregating garbage into wet and dry waste.
A fine of Rs. 5,05,000 was imposed after ascertaining that their solid waste management was not up to the required standards.
“The plastic was in the form of shopping bags and weighed around 500 kg,” said K.C. Yatish Kumar, Joint Commissioner, East Zone.
He added that the civic body had received reports about several malls not obeying the plastic ban and that this was just the beginning of a series of raids that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike is planning on malls.
Some 400,000 college students will accept diplomas this year while wearing gowns made entirely of plastic bottles.
It's not a joke or a gimmick. It's a statement on how to keep trash out of landfills, said Jay Hertwig, VP of global branding for textile maker Unifi.
Unifi, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, produces 300 million pounds of polyester and nylon yarn annually.
"As a manufacturer, we asked ourselves what we could do to be more innovative and a socially responsible company," said Hertwig.
Repreve was the answer. It's the firm's flagship fiber brand made from recycled materials.
Unifi's Repreve recycling center is a 50,000 square foot facility in Yadkinville, North Carolina, where plastic bottles, fiber waste and fabric scraps get deposited.
"We purchase these plastic flakes and convert them into small pellets," said Hertwig. The pellets are then melted, extruded and spun into polyester yarn.
Repreve makes three types of recycled yarn: 100% from used plastic bottles, a hybrid of plastic bottles and fiber waste, and a hybrid of plastic bottles and used fabric.
Since the brand launched in 2009, Hertwig said production has increased about 20% every year.
Repreve yarn is used to make everything from jackets and T-shirts to dress pants and even car upholstery. It's used in brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Levi's, Adidas,
Another customer is Oak Hall Cap & Gown, which makes graduation gowns from the 100% Repreve yarn spun from plastic bottles. It takes 27 used bottles to make one gown, Hertwig said.
He said more than 1,250 schools are using its Repreve-based graduation gowns, including Brown University, Michigan State, Yale, Notre Dame and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"Schools want their campuses to embrace sustainability in terms of waste management, energy conservation and environmental protection," said Hertwig. "The gowns are a great way for them to spread that message, especially among millennials."
The recycling center is currently able to produce 72 million pounds of Repreve fiber annually. Hertwig said they plan to increase production to about 100 million pounds by next year.
Unifi has turned 4 billion used plastic bottles into yarn in the last seven years. At the same time, there's an opportunity to recycle other plastic like food storage containers and plastic cutlery.
"If it's made from PET, we can recycle it," said Hertwig. "This is all about educating consumers that high-quality products can be made from recycled waste."
BBMP has put its foot down to make the implementation of plastic ban a success. However, ward level citizen volunteers are an essential ingredient in the success of plastic ban and scientific waste management.News Desk
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has put its foot once again to show that plastic ban is here to stay, unlike many earlier instances of plastic ban notifications that were ineffective. With the National Green Tribunal postponing the hearing of petition against plastic ban to July 15, 2016, BBMP has released a notification that orders heavy fine on violators. The revised fines are listed below:
|Criteria||Fine for first time offense||Fine for second time offense|
|Manufacturing||Rs 2,00,000||Rs 5,00,000|
|Storage||Rs 1,00,000||Rs 2,00,000|
|Selling||Rs 50,000||Rs 1,00,000|
|Commercial users||Rs 25,000||Rs 50,000|
|Domestic users||Rs 500||Rs 1000|
The notification has also empowered the Joint Commissioners, BBMP Revenue Officers, all BBMP engineers to seize and fine the violators, along with health officers, thus giving more hands for the system to monitor violations. The entire notification can be seen here:Read Article
The last few days have been crazy at the office of Bakey's, a small scale cutlery manufacturing business in Hyderabad. The phone hasn't stopped ringing and emails poured in from Bengaluru besides other places with sales and distribution enquiries. Earlier this month, a video of its founder talking about his products went viral online. In the video, Narayana Peesapati talks about jowar-based spoons he makes and goes on to take a bite into the sample he is holding.
Man invented plastic, not nature!
The ban on disposable plastics in Karnataka does not really matter much to most of us. At the most we are going to carry a bag when we go shopping or carry containers to restaurants. But isn’t that what our fore-fathers did?
Disposable Plastics are a matter of convenience, it is convenient because I don’t need to wash the dishes after a party at home, It is convenient cause I can order food from a restaurant on my way home, and not bother about carrying a container, it is convenient because its light on my baggage I can go on and on about how easy life is with plastic …. But is it really convenient to us? Have you ever wondered? Man, made plastic not nature. And is our convenience good for us to live with?
Hi I’m Samanvi Bhograj, and I believe that we can live without disposable plastics!
Yes, the ban is going to cause factories to shut down, it is going to cause unemployment to people, But can we not find suitable alternatives??
Can factories not shift to sustainable materials like corn starch to roll out compostable products from the same machines? Can people not be employed to make Bagasse products, areca products, cloth /paper/jute bags? They all need man power! And a country like India, there is always scope for development.
So why is disposable plastic dangerous?
Did you know that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year, worldwide and less than1% of them are recycled?
Where does this end up? In the oceans! Before the days of plastic, when fishermen dumped their trash overboard or lost a net, it consisted of natural materials--metal, cloth or paper that would either sink to the bottom or biodegrade quickly. But plastic remains floating on the surface, the same place where many genuine food sources lie--and can remain so for 500 to 1000 years. Plastic is durable and strong--precisely the qualities that make it so dangerous if it reaches the ocean.
This is where the problem begins! It’s not about just the garbage issues we face but the fact that we effect other species living around us.
Several Marine species die each day because of the bags we created, and dump into the oceans.
Think again do you need plastic for your convenience? Or can we all put in that extra effort to make this small change in our live so our future generations have a better place to live in!
Samanvi Bhograj is a social entrepreneur who encourages women entrepreneurship and sustainable projects. She was also featured in the outlook business magazine, and several media articles for her work in the field of biodegradable and compostable products.