KOCHI: Even as there is a lack of clarity on what is a single use plastic product, drug manufacturing and packaging units are worried over the proposed ban on such materials from October 2, announced by the Union government.
It is not clear whether the one-time-use bottles and other packaging materials used by homeopathic and ayurveda drug manufacturers come under the ban.
“Food grade PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and jars are being used for packaging ayu-rveda medicines. Though the bottles are not reused, they can be recycled,” said Dr. D. Ramanathan, secretary of Ayurveda Medicine Manufacturers Organisation of India.
“The ban on single use bottles might not be applicable to PET bottles used by ayurveda drugs manufacturers as they have high recycle rate,” said Dr. Mahesh Kolapilly, a Kochi-based ayurveda practitioner who runs a clinic and pharmacy.
PET bottles and products are safe, non-toxic and highly inert due to which it is extremely suitable for packaging and recycling. The proposed ban may not hit the homoeopathic drug manufacturers and practitioners. “Medicines are dispensed from government homoeopathic hospitals only in glass bottles. Plastic bottles are used only for medical camps and even they are recyclable. Hence, the ban will not have any impact on the sector,” said Dr. Hema Thilak of Ernakulam district homoeo hospital.
Dr. Deepak B. Shah, a city-based homoeopathic practitioner, said that the medicines were dispensed in recyclable plastic bottles and the globules and sugar of milk packed in plastic bags. “Packaging of these medicines can be easily changed to paper bags or other eco-friendly materials. So, the ban might not have a profound effect on homoeopathic drugs packaging,” he added.
Various company representatives and industry bodies are in touch with government authorities to clarify the ban and discuss feasible solutions to substitute plastic with other materials.