India will ban single-use plastics next year to cut pollution — experts say that's not enough

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CNBC 10 October, 2021 - 08:22pm 22 views

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India will ban single-use plastics next year to cut pollution — experts say that's not enough

msnNOW 10 October, 2021 - 08:21pm

India will ban most single-use plastics by next year as part of its efforts to reduce pollution — but experts say the move is only a first step to mitigate the environmental impact.

India's central government announced the ban in August this year, following its 2019 resolution to address plastic pollution in the country. The ban on most single-use plastics will take effect from July 1, 2022.

Enforcement is key for the ban to be effective, environmental activists told CNBC. New Delhi also needs to address important structural issues such as policies to regulate the use of plastic alternatives, improve recycling and have better waste segregation management, they said.

Single-use plastics refer to disposable items like grocery bags, food packaging, bottles and straws that are used only once before they are thrown away, or sometimes recycled.

"They have to strengthen their systems in the ground to ensure compliance, ensure that there is an enforcement of this notification across the industry and across various stakeholders," Swati Singh Sambyal, a New Delhi-based independent waste management expert told CNBC. 

As plastic is cheap, lightweight and easy to produce, it has led to a production boom over the last century, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming decades, according to the United Nations.

But countries are now struggling with managing the amount of plastic waste they have generated.

About 60% of plastic waste in India is collected — that means the remaining 40% or 10,376 tons remain uncollected, according to Anoop Srivastava, director of Foundation for Campaign Against Plastic Pollution, a non-profit organization advocating for policy changes to tackle plastic waste in India.

Independent waste-pickers typically collect plastic waste from households or landfills to sell them at recycling centers or plastic manufacturers for a small fee.

However, a lot of the plastics used in India have low economic value and are not collected for recycling, according to Suneel Pandey, director of environment and waste management at The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) in New Delhi.

In turn, they become a common source of air and water pollution, he told CNBC.

Countries, including India, are taking steps to reduce plastic use by promoting the use of biodegradable alternatives that are relatively less harmful to the environment.

For example, food vendors, restaurant chains and some local businesses have started adopting biodegradable cutlery and cloth or paper bags.

However, there is currently "no guideline in place for alternatives to plastics," Sambyal said.

That could be a problem when the plastic ban takes effect.

Sambyal said clear rules are needed to promote alternative options, which are expected to become commonplace in future.

The new rules also lack guidelines on recycling.

Though around 60% of India's plastic waste is recycled, experts worry that too much of it is due to "downcycling." That refers to a process where high-quality plastics are recycled into new plastics of lower quality — such as plastic bottles being turned to polyester for clothing.

"Downcycling decreases the life of the plastic. In its normal course, plastic can be recycled seven to eight times before it goes to an incineration plant ... but if you downcycle, after one or two lives itself, it will have to be disposed," said Pandey from Teri.

Tackling waste segregation is also essential.

If general waste and biodegradable cutlery are disposed together, it defeats the purpose of using plastic alternatives, according to Sambyal.

"It is high time that source segregation of domestic waste is implemented vigorously," said Foundation for Campaign Against Plastic Pollution's Srivastava, referring to waste management laws that are in place, but not followed closely.

Environmentalists generally agree that the ban is not sufficient on its own and needs to be supported by other initiatives and government regulations.

The amount of plastic that is collected and recycled needs to be improved. That comes from regulating manufacturers and asking them to clearly mark the type of plastic used in a product, so it can be recycled appropriately, said Pandey.

In addition to improving recyclability, investment in research and development for alternatives should also be a priority.

Pandey explained that India is a big, price-sensitive market where plastic alternatives could be produced in bulk and sold at affordable prices.

Several Indian states introduced various restrictions on plastic bags and cutleries in the past, but most of them were not enforced strictly.

Still, the latest ban is a big step toward India's fight against landfill, marine and air pollution — and is in line with its broader environmental agenda, according to the experts.

In March, India said it was on track to meet its Paris agreement climate change targets, and added that it has voluntarily committed to reducing greenhouse gas emission intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% by 2030.

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Consumers should expect higher food prices, says Kraft Heinz boss

The Independent 10 October, 2021 - 05:29pm

Miguel Patricio said the firm is “raising prices, where necessary, around the world” of products including ketchup and baked beans.

Mr Patricio said this was because of a lack of truck drivers in the UK and labour shortages and an increase in logistics costs in the US.

He told the BBC consumers will need to get used to paying more for food due to the world’s rising population and a lack of land to grow produce.

But he also said firms would have to take on the cost rises, adding: “I think it’s up to us and to the industry and to the other companies to try to minimise these price increases.”

Speaking about the reason behind the increases, Mr Patricio said: “Specifically in the UK, with the lack of truck drivers.

“In (the) US, logistic costs also increased substantially, and there’s a shortage of labour in certain areas of the economy.”

It is also because inflation was “across the board” unlike in previous years, he said.

It comes amid fears over supply chain issues ahead of Christmas.

Business advisory firm BDO LLP said its research suggested that economic growth had slowed for five months in a row due to disruption.

Consumers should expect higher food prices, says Kraft Heinz boss

The Times 10 October, 2021 - 05:29pm

Miguel Patricio said the firm is “raising prices, where necessary, around the world” of products including ketchup and baked beans.

Mr Patricio said this was because of a lack of truck drivers in the UK and labour shortages and an increase in logistics costs in the US.

He told the BBC consumers will need to get used to paying more for food due to the world’s rising population and a lack of land to grow produce.

But he also said firms would have to take on the cost rises, adding: “I think it’s up to us and to the industry and to the other companies to try to minimise these price increases.”

Speaking about the reason behind the increases, Mr Patricio said: “Specifically in the UK, with the lack of truck drivers.

“In (the) US, logistic costs also increased substantially, and there’s a shortage of labour in certain areas of the economy.”

It is also because inflation was “across the board” unlike in previous years, he said.

It comes amid fears over supply chain issues ahead of Christmas.

Business advisory firm BDO LLP said its research suggested that economic growth had slowed for five months in a row due to disruption.

People must get used to higher food prices, Kraft Heinz boss says

The Independent 10 October, 2021 - 03:40pm

While the world’s population is rising, the amount of land on which to grow food is not, Miguel Patricio reportedly argued.

But in the longer term, “there’s a lot to come in technology to improve the effectiveness of farmers” that will help, he told the BBC, adding: “I think it’s up to us, and to the industry, and to the other companies to try to minimise these price increases.”

Although the UK is facing a cost of living crisis, with inflation having seen a record spike in August, it is not alone in facing higher prices, with the coronavirus pandemic having heavily impacted global supply chains.

In contrast to recent years, inflation is “across the board”, Mr Patricio said, adding that Kraft Heinz – the world’s fifth-largest food and drink firm – is “raising prices, where necessary, around the world”.

This week, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said global food prices had hit a 10-year high.

Disruptions to food production, shipping and transport during the pandemic have resulted in a struggle to keep up with renewed demand, driving prices up. Global energy prices are also rising, further increasing costs.

"Specifically in the UK, with the lack of truck drivers,” said Mr Patricio, adding that “US logistic costs also increased substantially, and there's a shortage of labour in certain areas of the economy”.

Various supermarket bosses in the UK – which faces the dual shock of Brexit and the pandemic – have recently warned of worsening conditions for consumers, such as rising prices and emptier shelves.

These shortages are likely “permanent”, the former head of the Food and Drink Federation warned last month, suggesting that labour shortages had killed off the “just-in-time” delivery model.

Downing Street has rejected this, however, with Boris Johnson’s spokesman saying: “We have got highly resilient food supply chains which have coped extremely well in the face of challenges and we believe that will remain the case.”

Despite the rise in food and energy prices, the government has pushed ahead with scrapping the £20-per-week universal credit uplift introduced during the pandemic.

The cut – which was applied to assessments on Wednesday and will take effect next week – was described by the anti-poverty Joseph Rowntree Foundation as “the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the Second World War”. It is expected to impact six million people.

Food boss says consumers should expect higher food prices

Evening Standard 10 October, 2021 - 11:49am

onsumers must get used to higher food prices, the boss of food giant Kraft Heinz has said.

Miguel Patricio, the head of the international food brand which makes tomato sauce and baked beans, said he has been forced to put up prices in several countries.

Patricio said Kraft Heinz has had to increase the price of half its products in the US, its home market, with rises expected in other countries.

Patricio said a broad range of factors was contributing to the rising cost of products.

He said inflation was “across the board” and unavoidable.

Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation reports prices of ingredients such as cereals and oils means food costs are now at a10-year high.

During the pandemic, production of raw materials deceased. Now some producers are struggling to keep up with a return to full demand - leading to higher prices.

Wages and energy prices are also increasing in some areas.

“We are raising prices, where necessary, around the world,” he to the BBC.

“Specifically in the UK, with the lack of truck drivers. In [the] US logistic costs also increased substantially, and there’s a shortage of labour in certain areas of the economy.”

Mr Patricio said not all price increases should be passed on to consumers. He said food firms would have to absorb some of the rise in costs.

“I think it’s up to us, and to the industry, and to the other companies to try to minimise these price increases,” he said.

This week PespsiCo warned it was also facing rising costs and that price rises were likely at the start in 2021.

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