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How Eco-friendly Are Non-woven bags?
Apr 12, 2017

IS THE cure worse than the disease? How eco-friendly are the non-woven bags that look like a cross between paper and cloth and are now being used widely as a replacement for plastic bags, is the question that many are asking.

Plastic manufacturers claim that the non-woven bags are actually made of non-biodegradable plastic.

Jarnail Singh, who owns a plastic goods industry in Industrial Area Phase II, Chandigarh, claims he had got samples of such bags tested at the International Testing Centre, Industrial Area Phase I, Panchkula, and the results mentioned “non-woven material of poly-propylene 100 per cent non bio-degradable plastic”.

After the UT Administration imposed a ban in 2008, Jarnail had got this material tested at the end of the year, the reports of which were received in January 2009. Singh had submitted this report before the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the earlier ban imposed in 2008.

“Every other person is using these bags and actually they are harmful. As plastic manufacturers, we know that these are prepared on a machine by spreading one roll of plastic. There is no cloth that is used in it,” said Jarnail.

But another plastic dealer, Vinay Kansal, said that the non-woven bags lent themselves more readily to re-use than polythene bags. “The fact is that these non-woven bags can be re-used whereas polythene bags can’t be. So in that sense these bags are fine. The problem is there are very few alternatives. Frozen material can’t be kept in paper bags.”

Danish Ashraf, member secretary of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee, said, “I will definitely direct the SDMs to check this material if this is non-biodegradable.”

Director (Environment) Santosh Kumar said, “Some content of the non-woven bags is plastic but not 100 per cent of it.”

The UT Administration has called a meeting of all officials concerned on Tuesday for more clarity on replacements for plastic bags, what can be allowed and what comes under the NGT ban.

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