Waste management

Business Opportunities for Alternatives to Single Use Plastic

calendar06 Sep, 2022
timeReading Time: 8 Minutes
Alternatives to Single Use Plastic

In India, the plastics industry symbolizes a promising business segment that contributes towards both revenue generation and generating employment for all types of labours, whether be it skilled or semi-skilled, further contributing government initiative of  ‘Make in India’. Packaging materials which are mostly Single Use Plastic, account for 24% of the total consumption of plastic in India, which is then followed by agriculture at 23%, and household items at 10%. Data from the packaging segment data reveals that Polyethylene and polypropylene account for around 33% and 29% of polymer usage, respectively, followed by polyethene terephthalate (PET) at 17%, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) at 7%, and others at 14% in this segment. Finished plastic products also constitute a significant component of value-added product exports. This blog explores the need for Alternatives to Single Use Plastic and business opportunities related to it.

Single Use Plastic: Explained

Disposal Plastic or Single-use plastic is mostly used in industries involved in Packaging and includes plastic products that are used only once and then thrown away as per United Nations Environment Programme. This type of plastic comprises around 26-36 per cent of the world’s plastic that is Single Use Plastic posed to dispose of after immediate use. Many Single Use Plastic products such as face masks, medical equipment, shopping bags, coffee cups, and cling film are everyday “essentials” in our lives, adding tremendous value. The production of Single Use Plastic has doubled since 2005 alone and is expected to increase three times by further between 2020 and 2025.

The most common plastic products that are Single Use Plastic are: –

  • Plastic Drinking Bottles
  • Carry Bags
  • Plastic Wrappers for consumer goods
  • Straws and stirrers
  • Multi-Layer packaging used for Food Packing
  • Plastic bottle caps
  • Food Wrappers
  • Plastic Grocery Bags
  • Plastic Drinking Bottles
  • Foam takeaway containers

Need for Alternatives to Single Use Plastic

The cumulative production of polymers between 1950 – 2015, synthetic fibre and additives was 8300 million tons, of which 4600 million tons (55 per cent) went straight to landfills or were discarded, 700 million tons (8 per cent) incinerated, and only 500 million tons (6 per cent) was recycled. By 2050, as per current production and waste management trends, had it continued at the same rate, it would have generated 12,000 MT.

The Manufacture and unregulated use of Single Use Plastic can have a detrimental impact on the environment and human health. Apart from this, it also has a huge economic impact.

If we look into the environmental impact of Single Use Plastic, it is reported that uncontrolled use or unregulated disposal of plastic lead to Pollution in the ocean, which have a detrimental effect on marine life as well as if disposed on the land or burned cause soil and air pollution which again release toxic gases contributing towards the greenhouse effect. Single Use plastic life cycle at every stage releases greenhouse gasses starting from the initial stage of fossil fuel extraction to Plastic refining and production, management of plastic waste and at last, its disposal.

These released toxic gases affect human health as well, causing multiple health issues that are irreversible in nature.

Alternatives to Single Use Plastic  

With time, people, as well as the authorities, have realised the adverse impact that single-use plastic has on our environment. Therefore many different alternatives have been introduced and thought about, some being natural and some being man-made. Some of the Alternatives to Single Use Plastic can be utilised daily, especially those that are made of Common Plant materials, the plant source, the component polymer and glass. These natural alternatives to Single Use Plastic are a source of income for many farmers and local craftsmen.

Apart from these natural and daily Alternatives to Single Use Plastic, man-made alternatives may also be used, some of which are:-


Bio-Plastic are a type of plastic that is either biodegradable or bio-sourced or both and is manufactured from renewal biomass natural resources like corn starch/sugarcane/cassava, which can be both biodegradable and non-biodegradable. The Global bioplastic market was worth 10.2 Billion US Dollars in 2021, with the estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate of 17.1 per cent from 2022-2030. Whereas in India, the market is estimated to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 23.91 per cent to reach 754.648 million Us Dollars by 2025.

Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable Plastics include plastic, excluding compostable plastic, which is manufactured through the biological process under an ambient environment for a specific period of time without releasing any toxic waste as a by-product. This type of Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic has to adhere to the BIS Standards and has to acquire CPCB Certificate. The Global biodegradable plastic market was worth 1.6 Billion US Dollars in 2019, with the estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate of 13.3 per cent from 2020-2027. India has imported biodegradable plastics worth more than 320 million US Dollars in 2021, almost all of which goes into the manufacturing of carrying bags & garbage bags. In India, the market is estimated to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 22.1 per cent.

Compostable Plastic

Compostable Plastic is plastic that undergoes the biological process of degradation during composting to yield CO2, Inorganic compounds, biomass and Water at a similar rate to Alternative compostable material. These types of plastic can be plant-based or petroleum-based.  The Global Compostable plastic market was worth 991.2 Million US Dollars in 2019, with an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate of 15.4 per cent from 2020-2027 and reaching around 3,102.5 Million US Dollars.

Oxo-Degradable/ Oxy Degradable/ Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics

This type of Alternatives to Single Use Plastic is generally conventional plastic which has some added chemicals that help them break down/disintegrate into smaller fragments.

CPCB Certificate

The Central Pollution Control Board[1], to discourage the use of single-use plastic and encourage compostable plastic as an Alternatives to Single Use Plastic, provide CPCB Certificate to the Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturer and sellers of Compostable plastic under Rule 4(h) of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. The procedure for the certificate follows the similar steps of filing the application on the Online Portal with the documents, which are then reviewed upon which the certificate is granted.

Documents Required for CPCB Certificate for compostable Plastic Manufacturer 

  • Duly filled Form A for obtaining a certificate from the CPCB for biodegradable/Compostable by the manufacturer,  
  • Production details (e.g. Capacity for manufacturing compostable plastics, end products and by-products) 
  • Registration certificate for production of compostable plastic from the concerned State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee.  
  • Consent under Air and Water Act by the concerned Board or committee.  
  • Flow diagram and manufacturing process 
  • Test reports as per Indian Standards IS/ISO: 17088 (Sample that is produced is to be tested at the authorised lab upon which the report is published that must cover all the aspects of Aerobic Biodegradation, Heavy Metal Analysis, Disintegration and compost testing.)  
  • Proof of pollution control devices/ measures  
  • Memorandum of Association 
  • Undertaking as per Annexure V of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016

EPR Authorisation Required for Alternatives Single Use Plastic Manufacturer

EPR Authorisation for Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturer is governed under Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturers have to file a registration application as per Form I through the Centralised official website of the concerned Pollution Control Committee or The State Pollution Control Board, which is submitted with the mandated documents. After the application is submitted, the concerned Pollution Control Committee or The State Pollution Control Board go through the form to review and scrutinise the documents, following which the Producers/Manufacturer obtained the authorisation for Alternative Single Use Plastic. 

Documents required for acquiring EPR Authorisation

  • EPR plan containing EPR Target, Financial status etc. ;
  • Self-declaration under RoHS;
  • Amount allocated for EPR;
  • Particulars of future awareness programmes and associated initiatives;
  • Authorisation Copy that is issued by Pollution Control Committee/State Pollution Control Board earlier in case of t who are working in the country prior to 01-10-2016;
  • Agreement document Copy with other Stakeholders like dealers, collection centres, dismantlers, treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs) etc.   
  • Approval Copy from the applicable state authority for marketing various products or for doing the business as given below:
    • TIN details;
      • PAN details;
      • Incorporation certificate;
      • Copy IEC;

Consent Certificates

  1. CTE (Consent to Establish) obtained by Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturer before the Manufacturing Unit is established as per the Air and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act
  2. CTO (Consent to Operate) obtained by Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturer after the Manufacturing Unit is established and is ready to start the production process under the Air and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act

The authorisation process of both Consent Certificates (Consent to Establish and Consent to Operate) is regulated under the Air & Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, which has identical steps to the authorisation process where the application form is to be submitted through the centralised online portal of the concerned Pollution Control committee or The State Pollution Control Board with the documents or licenses required by the authorities after which the application submitted is reviewed by the authorities. After that, an authorised government official supervises a site examination and makes a detailed report according to the observation of the site, and at last, the Consent Certificates are granted.

Note: – The Site inspection only occurs when the manufacturer is applying for Consent to Operate.

Documents required for consent certificate:

  • PAN Card
  • Aadhar Card
  • SSI Certificate;
  • Details on channelisation;
  • Total open land
  • Industry Department Certificate;
  • Water usage breakdown
  • The layout plan/Site plan;
  • Total constructed area
  • The project report
  • DG Specifications
  • Effluent / Sewage Treatment Plant Flow Diagram
  • Boiler type, fuel used, and quantity
  • Raw material list with daily monthly quantity/MTD
  • Specifics on air pollution controls
  • Site Plan
  • Water Bill
  • Product/by-product list with daily monthly quantity/MTD
  • Consent from the state’s groundwater authority.
  • Authorisation Letter
  • Factory/Trade License
  • Municipality or Industry license
  • Registration Proof of unit

General Licenses that are required by the Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturer

Apart from Environmental Compliances, the Alternatives Single Use Plastic Manufacturer must also acquire the additional licenses that are required to run the business.

GST Certificate

Document required for GST Certificate

  • PAN Card
  • Aadhar Card of the applicant
  • Address proof
  • the Ministry of Corporate  Affairs authorised Incorporation Certificate
  • Bank Details
  • MOA
  • AOA

Company License

Documents required for establishing the company

  • Address Proof such as
    • Passport;
    • Ration Card;
    • Election Card or Voter Identity Card;
    • Electricity Bill;
    • Driving License;
    • Aadhaar Card;
    • Telephone Bill;
  • PAN Card;
  • GST Registration Certificate;
  • MOA (Memorandum of Association);
  • AOA (Article of Association);
  • Residential, Proof such as
    • Bank Statement
    • Electricity Bill
    • Telephone Bill
    • Mobile Bill

Factory License Obtained by Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturer

For establishing their manufacturing units, Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturers have to list their business under Factories Act. Under the given Act, they are directed to get a Factory license, which is granted by the Chief Inspector of the Labour Commissioner Organisation after examination of the manufacturing site according to the rules prescribed by the Factories Act.

Documents needed by Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturer

For acquiring the Factory license, the following documents that are required are: –

  • Form 1;
  • Aadhar Card;
  • List of directors;
  • Layout plan/site plan;
  • Partnership deed;
  • Tax receipt
  • MOA;
  • AOA;
  • Account Details;
  • Commencement date;
  • Consent form from SPCB/PCC
  • Payment receipt;
  • Land deeds;
  • Details of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous waste

Udyog Aadhaar MSME Registration

The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises regulate the authorisation process of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) registration, where one has to get authorisation through the online portal of the Ministry with the authorised documents. 

Documents needed for MSME registration

  • Aadhar Card
  • PAN Number 
  • ApplicantOfficial Name
  • Name and type of enterprise
  • The social category of the applicant
  • The business operations of the enterprise
  • The NIC Code
  • Account Details
  • Date of Incorporation of a business
  • Details related to employment

BIS Certificate

BIS Certificate is needed by the Alternatives to Single Use Plastic Manufacturer to ensure that those do not negatively impact public health.

As per the BIS, the manufacturer of the Alternatives to Single Use plastic has to fill out the Certificate application form along with the stipulated documents and send the test reports of the product samples that are tested at the BIS authorised lab, the report of which will be examined by the government authorised personnel. After the report is revised, the BIS certificate will be granted.

According to Rule 10 of the newly amended Plastic Waste Management (Second Amendment) 2022, the degree of degradability and disintegration of plastic is measured as per the protocols of Indian Standards that are introduced by Bureau of Indian Standards listed under Schedule I of these rules.

Documents required for BIS Certificate needed by Alternative Plastic Manufacturer

  • The raw material list that is being used during production 
  • A detailed layout/site plan  
  •  Info on the types of machinery being operated 
  • layout of the Plant
  • Identification Proof like Adhaar Card or PAN Card
  • Factory Authorisation Documents  
  • Description of the industrial procedure
  • The Test Reports of the Plastic Sample sent by the Alternative Single Use Plastic Manufacturer that is to be issued strictly by a BIS Recognised Laboratory 
  • Photographs of the Plastic product
  • A Undertaking that is duly signed
  • The authorisation form which is filled and signed by the official personnel 

Strengths and Weaknesses of Business Related to Alternatives to Single Use Plastic

One of the biggest strengths of this type of business is its lack of adverse impact on the environment and human health. These businesses also contribute to a decrease in waste accumulation and Wider Application.

But in spite of these strong points, these industries still have a little difficult time developing in India due to the Confusion that people have relating to the classification, Lack of Proper Infrastructure and policy related to Alternatives of Single Use Plastic. Apart from this, these Alternatives, although environmentally friendly, do not completely guarantee carbon neutrality.


The environmental issues relating to the use of single use plastic have become a major problem in India, with some studies even indicating towards its permanent impact on human health that has a generational impact as well. These businesses related to Alternatives to Single Use Plastic will prove as a saving grace that will not only decrease the pollution but will also contributes towards the development of the country by creating new market space and generating revenues.

Read our Article:BIS to issue standards for plastic to be used as alternatives for single-use plastic

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