Beverages majors offer to buy back PET bottles to comply with plastics ban: report

Beverage majors Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Bisleri are offering to buy back PET bottles at Rs15 per kg and shrink wraps at Rs5 per kg, in order to comply with the plastic ban, after the Maharashtra government allowed companies to continue with the use of PET bottles on a non-littering basis.

Reports say, most companies have settled on Rs15 per kg for PET bottles, and Rs5 per kg for shrink wraps, although these rates can be flexible.
Consumers can return empty plastic bottles and get paid as per the value of the buyback printed on bottles. 
However, some industry officials said the buyback system is not fool proof, and could further complicate the issue. 
“There is already a system in place to recycle plastic. What we need to do is make it more efficient and profitable for the stakeholders (such as rag pickers), instead of introducing more processes in the ecosystem of recycling further,” an ET report quoting Ramesh Chauhan chairman at Bisleri, market leader in the packaged water category said. 
A PepsiCo spokesperson said the company has started mentioning a recycle value of Rs15 per kg of PET waste on its products sold in Maharashtra. “We are working with Gem Enviro to set up reverse vending machines, collection points and collection centres for PET waste bottles at several locations across the state to enable the buyback programme,” the person said. 
Maharashtra enforced a ban on PET bottles smaller than 200 ml and other single use disposable plastic items in late June and gave users three months to come up with alternatives following mounting concerns over plastic waste. 
The buyback value printing drive, which Maharashtra introduced as part of its efforts to check plastic pollution, is expected to spill over to other states, with many such as Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand also hinting at implementing similar plastic use restrictions. 
Industry insiders said there is a lack of clarity on where the bottles can be returned — at retailers or at collection centres. If they are redeemed for a charge at retailers, the latter can return the empty bottles to recyclers. 
Industry players, however, insist the solution to deal with plastic waste lies in adopting technology in collaboration with all stakeholders, be it more efficient recycling techniques and solutions or coming up with viable and affordable biodegradable alternatives to plastic.