The restaurant chains were among dozens of companies hit with fines in Maharashtra state — India’s second-largest with a population of more than 100 million — at the weekend, a government official said.
The ban on single-use plastic items including shopping bags, food containers and cutlery, was announced in late March but went into force on Saturday.
…[The Indian] government has pledged to eliminate single-use plastic in India by 2022, joining a global campaign that has been given added urgency by research showing there will be more plastic by weight than fish in the oceans by 2050.
At least 25 of India’s 29 states have full or partial bans on single-use plastics, but they’re often not strictly enforced.
Maharashtra is cracking down immediately, forcing companies to change their ways.
…Hardcastle Restaurants, the franchisee which runs McDonald’s (MCD) outlets in Maharashtra, said it has begun using wooden cutlery, paper cups and straws made of corn starch.
But the chain was fined because it has not yet found similar alternatives for delivery items such as plastic lids for drinks, a spokesperson for McDonald’s India told CNNMoney. McDonald’s has joined restaurant associations in the region in asking for exemptions from the ban for delivery and takeaway orders, the spokesperson added.
…So far the government of Maharashtra has only exempted plastic containers used to package medicines, milk and solid waste, as well as plastic items for export.
…Neemit Punamiya, secretary of the Plastic Bags Manufacturers Association of India, estimates that India’s plastic industry could lose over $2.2 billion and 300,000 jobs as a result of the ban, local media reported.