Update: E-commerce players now have three more months to comply with the plastic ban rules in Maharashtra, as the state government has allowed some relaxation on the rules.

Earlier on 25th June, 2018: E-commerce companies are likely to get more time from the Maharashtra government to comply with the state-wide plastic ban, reports The Economic Times. On March 23, Maharashtra government announced a ban on manufacture, use, sale, distribution and storage of disposable plastic materials and gave three months time (till 23rd June) to comply with it.

According to the ET report, e-commerce players including Amazon wrote to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) for an extension to be able to change their plastic packaging to other materials. IAMAI president Subho Ray told ET that the state government is likely to grant an extension of till August to comply with the ban.

Cost of delivery may increase

Players like Swiggy and Zomato have to use plastic to pack food to prevent leakage for oily and curry-based food items. Alternatives to plastic may come at a cost. The same ET report mentions that one of the alternatives – cardboard boxes – are 30% more expensive than plastic packaging material. Other packaging alternatives may be paper, thermocol, jute bags, which are costlier than widely-used disposable plastic.

In a statement shared with MediaNama, Zomato’s spokesperson said that the company is seeing a dip in its food delivery in the state. It said in a statement that it subscribes to the objectives of the ban… “Yes – there is a dip in volumes across most cities in Maharashtra. However, it is to soon to size the impact just yet. Most restaurants are morally aligned to the larger objectives of the ban and are working towards compliance. In cases where the restaurants weren’t able to comply immediately, we encouraged them to keep such items switched off,” it added.

The statement adds that the company has advised all its delivery executives to not handle products packed in plastic. “Safe packaging material has been in short supply and some restaurants were caught off-guard on the plastic ban. While items that can be safely packed in corrugated cardboard and other materials continue to be available, certain restaurants have requested temporary suspension of items which need water-proof packing, such as gravies.”

We have sent queries to other e-commerce players for more inputs on the same, and we will update the post as soon as we hear from them.

Update: We have changed the headline from ‘E-commerce players may get more time to comply with Maharashtra’s plastic ban’ to ‘Update: E-com players get three months to comply with Maharashtra’s plastic ban’ following the latest development.