On March 23 2018, the Maharashtra Environment Department released the "Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification, 2018."
The notification describes a state-wide ban of the manufacture, usage, transport, distribution, wholesale & retail sale and storage, and import of plastic bags with and without handles, and disposable products manufactured from plastic and thermocol (polystyrene).
The Department defines plastic as a material "which contains as an essential ingredient a high polymer such as polyethylene terephthalate, high-density polyethylene, vinyl, low-density polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene resins, polystyrene (thermacol), non-oven polypropylene, multi-layered co-extruder, polypropylene, polyterephthalate, polyamides, polymethylmethacrylate, plastic microbeads, etc."
The ban includes disposable plastic and polystyrene products:
Disposable plastic items – cutlery, cups, glasses, containers, etc.
Disposable polystyrene items – plates, cups, bowls, containers, etc.
Non-woven polypropylene bags
Plastic pouches for storing liquid
Plastic wrap used for packaging or storing products
Plastic packaging for food items
Plastic and polystyrene decorations
However, there are some exemptions. Specifically:
Plastics used for packaging medicines
Compostable plastic bags or material used for plants/handling solid waste
Plastic and plastic bags for export purposes only
Plastic used for handling solid waste – i.e. household garbage bags
Plastic cover or plastic to wrap material used at manufacturing stage/integral to manufacturing
Food grade/virgin plastic bags no less than 50-microns thick for packaging milk
PET/PETE bottles made of high quality food grade virgin BPA-free material holding no less than 0.5 liters and printed with buy-back price
The manufacturing and sale of banned items was implemented the day that the notification was released.
Producers must dispose of existing stock, either by selling it outside of the state or selling it to authorized recyclers or industries, within one month of the notification (by April 23, 2018).
The notification makes Maharashtra the 18th Indian state to ban the use of certain plastic items and establish the responsibilities of producers and the governing body.