Milk producers get two months extension to set up a recycling mechanism for empty pouches

Milk producers believe that only 2-3 per cent pouches of the 10,000 tonne that are used to pack milk annually end up in bins

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Milk consumers in Maharashtra heaved a sigh of relief when the state government agreed to take a lenient view and allow the use of plastic pouches for packaging of milk until further notice.

The state government has given an extension of two months to milk producers to set up a recycling mechanism for empty pouches. Prior to this, milk producers in the state had threatened to stop collecting milk from farmers and packaging it in plastic pouches, citing their inability to prepare an extended producer responsibility (EPR) plan under the plastic ban in Maharashtra. 

The EPR plan — modalities of a waste collection system — needs to be submitted to the government for an approval. However, dairies expressed their inability to implement an EPR. On Tuesday, a meeting to resolve the issue was held in Mantralaya under environment minister Ramdas Kadam. 

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Kadam said that dairies and milk producers had issues with the state government’s model, so they asked them to submit a model of their own. He added that their aim is to ensure that empty milk pouches are not found in the garbage. 

Prakash Kutwal, Secretary, Milk Producers’ and Processors’ Welfare Association, said that they were glad that the state government heard them and gave them a period of two months. He added that though the government feels that close to 2 crore plastic milk pouches end up in the bins all over the state, they are sure that only 2 per cent to 3 per cent pouches of the 10,000 tonne that are used to pack milk annually end up in bins.

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