‘Alternatives to plastic will sour milk prices’
“We are in the business of selling milk,” says Dnyaneshwar Pawar of the Milk Producers’ Welfare Association of Maharashtra, “Collecting and recycling is not our cup of tea. If the government insists, we will have to switch to alternate packaging which is either tetra pack or glass bottles. And this will definitely cost the consumer.”
Indranil Chitale, of Chitale Dairy, which supplies four lakh litres of milk every day, concurred with Pawar. “The new norms will definitely cost more, which will be passed on to the buyer,” he said, “The government first needs to create an alternative viable system. Glass bottles will cause safety and hygiene issues. Tetra pack costs will be up to Rs 30 per litre.”
Rohit Sachdev of Lucky Graphic said that fears of such huge costs were unrealistic. He pegs the rise at no more than Rs 2 to Rs 5 per litre. “Tetra packs are used in the European Union to supply milk and juices, while in Japan, thick and transparent plastic bottles are used,” he says. “These plastic bottles can be easily recycled. Glass bottle supplies were feasible a few decades ago as the population was less and consumption wasn’t as high.”
Kadam too said that the milk suppliers were engaging in fear-mongering over pricing. “I have called a meeting on Tuesday with all the stakeholders. We had them given them six months to sort out alternatives but they are crying as if this was ordered just yesterday. We will not be cowed down by such tactics,” he said.