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Industry calls for ban on use of plastic straws

Industry calls for ban on use of plastic strawsIndustry calls for ban on use of plastic straws
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The USA is said to be using 8.5 million straws in a day! We don't know how many are used in India. But, definitely, a large number of plastic straws are used in India every day. If you take an example of coconut water alone, approximately five lakh water coconuts are consumed every day, using plastic straws.

Hyderabad: The USA is said to be using 8.5 million straws in a day! We don't know how many are used in India. But, definitely, a large number of plastic straws are used in India every day. If you take an example of coconut water alone, approximately five lakh water coconuts are consumed every day, using plastic straws.

For coconut alone, if five lakh straws are used every day in our country, imagine, how many straws are used across the nation drinking many other beverages. Nearly 3.5 million to 5 million straws are said to be used in Telangana state every day. And the number goes up in the summer as more and more people drink cool beverages.

Plastic Straws are causing more harm to the environment, says Sribach Nayak from Packaging Department of P&G, a participant at the National meet on Packaging being organised by Indian Institute of Packaging.

Says SN Venkataraman, Vice President Marketing at ITC: "The material used for Plastics is BOPP. It is compatible with beverages. It is light weight material. But, in case of paper, we have to use little stronger material. ITC manufactures special and high strength paper. Now more and more people are going back to paper straws. The cost difference may go up by 50% as we need strong paper for straws unlike light weight plastic straws."

Speaking further SN Venkatraman said, "we may need 3000 tonnes of papers every year to make paper straws for consuming cold beverages alone. Tamil Nadu has already banned plastic straws. Mumbai imposed a ban long ago. Plastic straws are difficult to collect.

They are not biodegradable. Hyderabad has one manufacturer Thoran Papers which may soon venture into making of paper straws. 30 to 40 plastic staw manufactuers have already converted across Mumbai to paper straw manufacturing. It is a great opportunity for many MSMEs and SMEs to get into paper straw manufacturing."

Vagish Disit of Alpla and Regional Chairman of IIP says, "Burger King and many have converted to paper straws. It is a very good business opportunity. With just an investment of Rs 30 lakh on the machine, one can start manufacturing paper straws."

Plastic straws are 11th most trash found in the ocean. According to environmentalists, they are said to be destroying marine life. Looking at harmful effects a lot of alternatives are being worked out by Packaging professionals.

According to these experts, biodegradable paper drinking straws, straws made of bamboo are being introduced all over the world. Even reusable straws are also being worked out. Many big companies such as Starbucks, McDonald internationally, according to some packaging professionals, are seriously looking at replacing plastic straws.

McDonald's, Starbucks, KFC Fried Chicken, and MGM vowed to phase out them slowly. Many famous hotel brands like Four Seasons, Marriot, Taj Palace, and Antara are shying away from plastic straws say the experts. Future is about bio-degradable straws. South East Asian countries like India, Thaiwan, Thailand and others use more straws.

People have taken up plastic straws seriously. Now plastic straws are seen in India and globally as an enemy to the environment. Many organisations have also launched campaigns against the use of plastic straws. Environmentalists have launched campaigns such as #Refusethestraw encouraging people to voluntarily give up straw use.

ReefWatch is a non-profit organization based in Port Blair which has introduced the campaign, named the Last Straw Campaign, in India. A school student of the Shri Ram School Aravali, Gurgaon took up a challenge sometime in the year 2018. The challenge was to replace 50,000 plastic straws with environmental-friendly ones by World Environment Day in the year 2018. And has completed in time the challenge.

The alternatives for the plastic straws are bamboo, organic, paper, stainless steel, glass, copper, re-usable straws. The other best option is NO STRAW at all.Paper Straws are coming in a very big way. Soon making them may become a household chore in India says a packaging expert.

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