Costlier alternatives to single-use plastic causing a hurdle in effective ban

Price of paper cups has shot up with the increased demand due to the upcoming ban

July 01, 2022 01:37 am | Updated 01:30 pm IST - New Delhi 

Not many small businesses will switch to alternatives, say distributors of plastic items.

Not many small businesses will switch to alternatives, say distributors of plastic items. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

A day ahead of the ban on 19 single-use plastic (SUP) items, many parts of the city saw wide use of such SUP items. Several eateries using these items said the ban will increase their expenditure as the alternatives are costlier and not economically viable for them. 

Meanwhile, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has formed 15 teams and the Revenue Department has formed 33 teams for enforcement of the ban from Friday. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will also be part of the implementation. 

Businesses engaged in import, stocking and sale of SUP products will be shut down and penalties will also be imposed on them, the DPCC said.  The 19 banned items include plastic cups, spoons, forks, knives, straws and plates, among other things. 

Expensive alternatives

On Thursday, there was a stack of plastic cups at 21-year-old Mohammad Junaid’s roadside shop that sells juice and shakes near the Delhi Assembly. “The supplier told us that plastic cups will be banned from tomorrow. So, I will use paper cups now onwards,” he said.

Mr. Junaid said that paper cups were already more expensive than plastic ones and the price of paper cups has shot up further with the increased demand. “About a month back, I bought a pack of 50 large paper cups for ₹120. Three days ago, I got the same for ₹150,” he said, adding that the government should control the prices.  

Sita Saran, 45, who sells coconut water near ITO, said he is now stuck with plastic cups worth ₹1,500. Like others, he too said he uses plastic cups as they are cheaper. “I get a pack of 100 plastic cups for ₹55, but I have to pay around ₹125 for the same amount and size of paper cups,” he added. 

Sudanshu Sejwal, 33, runs Chai Kortyard, a cafe in Lado Sarai. He has bought a new set of paper cups, which would not get soggy while holding shakes and coolers. “This is a three-ply paper cup, which is strong enough and is used in high-end cafes. It costs about ₹7 per piece compared to ₹4 for the plastic cup we are using now,” Mr. Sejwal said.  

Difficult to switch

Based on the recent buying choices, distributors of plastic items say not many small businesses will switch to alternatives.

Yogesh, 37, a distributor of plastic items, said the ban is affecting his business. He, however, added, “Price of paper alternatives are at least 50% more than plastic ones. So, many people are not buying them. The ban will be difficult to implement until we have quality alternatives at cheaper rates.”

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