Import Of Plastic Bottles For Waste Processing Allowed: Basics Explained


After banning the import of plastic waste in 2019, the Ministry of Environment allowed the import of PET bottles, as waste plastic, for processing. The decision to roll back the ban was made last year after several waste processing industries said there was little waste available to them in India causing them financial losses.

An expert panel from the Ministry of Environment, last December, recommended companies that applied for permission to import PET flakes/bottles up to 50% of their production capacity. PET bottles are a class of plastic from which nearly 90% of the domestic supply is already recycled.

 Types of plastic waste

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene or Styrofoam (PS) are the different types of plastics. .


  • Since plastics belong to a chemical family of high polymers, they are essentially made up of a long chain of molecules containing repeated units of carbon atoms. Because of this inherent molecular stability (high molecular weight), plastics do not easily breakdown into simpler components.
  • Due to the non-biodegradable nature of plastic, it is quite dangerous to make our environment polluted with plastics as it will not break down into simpler compound and get absorbed into the air water or soil as beneficial components.
  • Plastic will eventually photo-degrade, i.e. break down into smaller and smaller fragments by exposure to the sun. The photo-degradation process continues down to the molecular level, yet photo-degraded plastic remains a polymer. No matter how small the pieces, they are still and always will be plastic, i.e. they are not absorbed into or changed by natural processes. Plastic becomes microscopic, invisible, yet ever polluting waters, beaches, coasts, seafloor, being eaten by even tinier marine organisms, therefore entering the food chain insidiously and ineluctably.
  • In landfills, toxic chemicals from plastics drain out and seep into groundwater, flowing downstream into lakes and rivers.
  • Wildlife become entangled in plastic, they eat it or mistake it for food and feed it to their young,resulting in impaired movement and feeding, reduced reproductive output, lacerations, ulcers and death.
  • Coral reefs which are actually living growing organisms are also affected fatally. Plastic debris causes physical breaking off and suffocating of these coral reefs by not allowing sunlight to reach them.
  • Ecosystem changes as species are wiped out and alien species take over adapting to the environment.
  • Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic (bisphenol-A or BPA,phthalates.) and are found in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

                                 Plastic is a petroleum product; to truly divest from fossil fuels, we must reduce our collective plastic footprint.More and more awareness and preventive programs need to be promoted which should ultimately leads us toward better choices in term of consumption and waste management of plastic at an individual level.



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