Large Consumer, Agro-Food Firms Switch To Paper As Plastic Ban From Today

Large FMCG, Agro-food firms switch to paper as plastic ban comes into effect
Large FMCG, Agro-food firms switch to paper as plastic ban comes into effect

With the ban on plastic straws coming into effect from Friday, large FMCG and agro-food companies have removed integrated plastic straws from small tetra paks of fruit juices as well as dairy products, and are shifting to paper-based straws and other alternative sustainable solutions.

Leading companies, including Parle Agro, Dabur, Amul and Mother Dairy, have replaced integrated plastic straws in the tetra paks with alternative sustainable solutions.

Industry body Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC) said FMCG companies are facing difficulties in replacing plastic straws and that supplies would also be disrupted.

The companies also face issues such as leftover inventory with their stockists and retailers. Still, they have complied with the government's decision to ban single-use plastic by importing paper straws and whatever solution is available in the markets, AARC said.

The ban on single-use plastics, including plastic straws, announced last year, has come into effect from Friday.

Parle Agro, a leading player with popular brands such as Frooti and Appy Fizz, has started integrating biodegradable straws in its tetra juice paks as per the new guidelines.

"Our manufacturing locations have started with integrating biodegradable straws as per the new guidelines. We have imported paper-based straws for now to meet the deadline, and will move to PLA-based straws," Parle Agro CEO Schauna Chauhan told PTI.

PLA straws are compostable and made from corn starch or sugar cane.

"This will commence once all the machinery of our business partners for manufacturing PLA straws is installed and commissioned, which will take a few months. We have created infrastructure for the same by developing many local MSMEs as business partners to support us and cater to our volume of biodegradable straws," she said.

Mother Dairy is using imported paper straws for its juices and dairy packs being manufactured from July 1.

"We, at Mother Dairy, are in adherence to the new norms and have already imported paper straws in order to ensure compliance. Our carton products, that come under the purview, being manufactured from today (July 01, 2022) onwards will now come integrated with paper straws," Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Managing Director Manish Bandlish said.

Dabur, which sells its Real brand juices, has also started production with integrated paper straws.
"Dabur has already commenced production of Real juice packs with integrated paper straws. We are committed to meeting the regulations and will ensure that all packs come with integrated paper straws," Dabur India Executive Director-Operations Shahrukh Khan said.

AARC CEO Praveen Agarwal said there would be a lot of discomfort and pain for the retailers holding inventories before June 30.

Industry and different bodies had requested for relaxation and better clarity so that the stocks which are lying in the plans of the distributors and retailers could be utilised, he said, adding that around 2 million retailers, who sell these products, are going to face lots of problems.

It is also possible that their products would be sold without straws, and in that case, consumers will face lots of inconveniences, he said.

"Of course, the industry would comply only with what is available, and this will lead to disruption. Our members are respected corporates; nobody would do anything which is not compliable," Mr Agarwal said.

However, he also said that the disruption would happen in the process of compliance because alternatives are not there." Companies had sought a six-month extension to remove the integrated plastic straws from tetra packs.

They had cited various issues, including that the country lacks the technology for manufacturing paper straws.

However, the domestic paper industry rejected these claims.

Last week, the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association (IPMA) said the domestic paper industry has enough capacity and technological know-how to manufacture paper for making paper straws and other similar products.

Leading dairy cooperative Amul is also working on manufacturing biodegradable straws.