Tamil Nadu bans packaging of biscuits, chips and other goods using plastic

The Tamil Nadu government has banned the plastic packaging of items even at the manufacturing stage. This means that even items such as biscuits and chips can no longer be packed in plastic covers.

So far such items were exempted from the ban on single-use plastics imposed by the Tamil Nadu government from January 2019. However, the state’s Environment and Forest department issued an order to this effect on June 5. The order only came to light on Tuesday and it is unclear as to whether the state has started implementing it.

This means even items like biscuits and chips can no longer be packed in plastic covers. Till now, such items were exempted even as the State had imposed ban on a range of single-use plastic items since January 2019.

A decision comes in the backdrop of the Madras High Court’s repeated observations that the State must take steps to ban single-use plastics used at the manufacturing stage.

On January 1, 2019, the Tamil Nadu government banned single-use plastics. It was not the first State to do so but it was considered a brave decision by a government that had a question mark over its survival at that point.

While many people have opted to use their own cloth bags, which has been a welcome change, small vendors continue to use banned plastics for want of alternatives.

Also, despite the local bodies enforcing the ban doggedly, fake bio-degradable plastics are silently flooding the market. Many illegal units have been shut down but there seems to be a secret network that continues to thrive.