NEW DELHI: Starbucks may have grabbed headlines by banning plastic straws but one Indian state is taking further-reaching action by banning the use of all single use plastics and introducing buy-back schemes.

The coffee retailer announced its intention this week to phase out single-use straws by 2020 from all its 28,000-plus stores – which will eliminate around 1bn straws a year.

Unilever has also stated its intention to ensure that in future at least 25% of its product packaging contains post-consumer recycled plastic by 2025, with the FMCG giant’s Australian arm yesterday pledging to use locally recycled materials, Marketing reported.

“As a consumer goods company, we are acutely aware of the consequences of a linear take-make-dispose model and we want to change it,” said Unilever ANZ CEO Clive Stiff.

In India the Maharashtra government has a more ambitious timeline, however, having announced a ban on all single-use plastics – including bags, cups, cutlery and packaging – in March, with penalties being imposed from late June.

And this week, to ensure the recycling of plastics that are not banned, it is implementing a buyback scheme for PET bottles which will be extended to cover other products in the next three months.

The speed of implementation has inevitably raised concerns among affected parties, with manufacturers required to set up collection and recycling centres. The Times of India also reported some were complaining about high refundable charges.

Local retailers, meanwhile, are switching away from plastic bags to biodegradable versions or simply using paper, cloth and corn starch bags, according to Exchange4Media; Amazon, however, has sought an extension to enable it to comply with the new regulations.

Other Indian states, including Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, are set to follow the example of Maharashtra.

Sourced from Times of India, Indian Express, Exchange4Media, Marketing, BBC; additional content by WARC staff