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This article applies to selling in: India

Plastic Ban

Many states in India have banned the manufacture, sale, storage, transportation, trading, import and use of certain plastic carry bags, disposable plastic or thermocol products, which may impact your operations as a Seller on Amazon.in.

There have been significant developments in this regard in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Maharashtra. Click to view the relevant notifications ban on certain plastic items for UP and Maharashtra.

To know the indicative list of States and the plastic related items, which have been banned by such States, click here.

We recommend you to acquaint yourself with the notifications applicable in various States and consult with your legal advisors to understand the entire scope of the ban and exceptions to the same in various States.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Note: The following questions are related to Maharashtra shipments only i.e. shipments coming from Maharashtra or going into Maharashtra. The prohibition is under the Maharashtra Plastic and Thermocol Products (Manufacture, Usage, Sale, Transport, Handling and Storage) Notification, 2018 (“Notification”) available here. Certain exemptions may be applicable (refer to Question 8).

What packaging material should I use for shipping orders to and from Maharashtra and what should be avoided?

Use of plastic as packaging material for shipments coming into or going out of Maharashtra is prohibited. Non-plastic, non-thermocol packaging material (such as corrugate and paper) may be used. You may choose non-plastic, non-thermocol packaging material from vendors here.

Plastic or thermocol packaging (of any specification, whether unbranded, branded or generic) should not be used.

Can I use the plastic pouch with invoice and label?

Paste the label on the top-facing side of the package and you may alternately place the invoice inside the package. Refrain from placing the label inside the pouch.

How shall I pack fragile items?

You can use non-plastic, non-thermocol dunnage (such as rolled/shredded paper) to pack fragile items. You can also wrap the fragile object, as required, with additional layers of non-plastic protective packaging to avoid damage to fragile items.

Note: Any plastic forming part of the manufacturer’s packaging is allowed.

Where can I procure non-plastic packaging materials?

You may procure non-plastic packaging materials from vendors or from any other third party vendor who can supply compliant packaging material for your needs. If you want to buy corrugate boxes, click here. You can also use threaded paper envelopes for packing your orders shipping to Maharashtra.

Is there a penalty, if I do not use compliant packaging? What is the penalty?

Use of packaging, which is in violation of the notification may result in imprisonment or a fine between INR 5000.00 to INR 25000.00 with the fine increasing for every subsequent violation. If the violator is a company, the directors may also be personally held accountable along with the company. We urge you to understand the implications of non-compliance of the notification clearly by acquainting yourself with the notification or consulting with a legal advisor.

Other e-commerce companies are allowing polybag that are supplied by them, why is Amazon not providing the same?

Our advice to sellers has always been consistent. Sellers are required to ensure compliance with applicable law. Our endeavor is to provide you with relevant, valid and accurate guidance as mentioned in existing applicable laws. We would not want to comment on communication received by you from non-Amazon sources including any other company.

I am having products that come in plastic packaging from the manufacturer. Can I continue to use this, if the outer packaging by the seller is non-plastic?

Yes. As long as you do not use any plastic packaging over and above the manufacturer’s packaging, there is no issue.

Are there any exemptions under the notification for use of plastic packaging material?

The notification provides certain specific exemptions for manufacturers, packaging of medicines/ medical equipment and retailers of grain and groceries, among others. The relaxation provided could be either broad or for use of plastic of certain specifications depending on the exemption category. To understand the categories and extent of exemption, please acquaint yourself with the notification here or consult with your legal advisor.

Are the above answers applicable only for Maharashtra shipments?

Plastic packaging material is banned for usage in shipments coming into or going out of Maharashtra. While other States may allow plastic of prescribed specifications, it is recommended that you acquaint yourself with plastic ban notifications applicable in different States and the extent/details of the ban independently.

Note: (For Seller Flex Sellers only): You may use the recommended packaging of corrugate boxes that appears on the pack screen of the seller flex portal. Shipments that used plastic based packaging materials like NM1, NM2, NM4, NP6, NP7, NP8, NP9 might require use of non-plastic packaging material. Suggested vendors that you are working with would also be able to supply non-plastic packaging materials.

Generic questions on plastic ban

The following FAQs are related to plastic ban and how it may impact your operations as a Seller on Amazon.in:

What is ‘Plastic Ban’? When will it be in effect? How does it impact my business on Amazon?

Many States in India have banned the manufacture, sale, storage, transportation, trading, import and use of certain plastic carry bags, disposable plastic or thermocol products (such as disposable dishes and pouches) and/or plastic or thermocol products for decoration purposes. Typically, plastic carry bags would mean bags made from plastic material used for the purposes of carrying, storing or dispensing products. The ban is already in effect in certain States.

Accordingly, as a Seller on Amazon.in, subject to the State specific requirements, you are required to ensure that you do not list, sale, store or transport disposable plastic/thermocol material or plastic/thermocol products for decoration purposes and/or list and use any form of plastic carry bags.

In which states does my business get affected? What kinds of products are impacted?

Many States have already implemented ban on plastic and thermocol or is in the process of implementation. The products which are impacted by the ban may differ from State-to-State. You may refer to the list provided here to see the details of the States (except Maharashtra) and the corresponding materials banned in such States

Why can’t I ship to other states, if the ban is only in Maharashtra and UP?

While plastic ban has already been implemented by many States, there is nothing to suggest that other States may not follow suit in the near future. In the interest of ensuring optimal customer and seller experience across India and on Amazon.in marketplace as a whole, we trust that suppressing ASINs on the marketplace is the most optimal solution to ensure and enable long term compliance for all stakeholders. For more details on state-wise ban, you may go through the State-specific laws in detail and ensure compliance from your end.

What actions should I take for my business? By when do I have to comply? What if I don’t comply?

Given plastic ban is already in effect in many States, you should immediately stop listing, sale, storage, transportation of the banned items to ensure that you are conducting your business in compliance with applicable laws. For your existing inventory containing such banned items, we suggest taking up the same with your respective vendors and/or manufacturers.

If your inventory in FBA also consist of the banned items, we will create removals for the same from Fulfilment Centres (FCs) on August 20, 2018 and we request your co-operation in ensuring that your address is updated accurately in your Seller Central account on or before August 18, 2018. Rejecting or refusing to accept delivery of items removed from our FC may lead to undelivered or non-acceptance of appropriate disposal of your goods which are banned in the particular State in accordance with the agreed Business Solutions Agreement and/or applicable laws.

Note: If you fall short of any form of compliance, the appropriate authority may also impose penalties on you as prescribed under the applicable law.

Where can I find the list of my ASINs suppressed by Amazon?

Whenever an ASIN is suppressed, you will receive an email notification covering details of the ASIN suppressed and reason for the same.

I manufacture the products I sell on Amazon. What actions should I take?

You should independently contact your advisors to understand the additional compliances required to be adhered by a manufacturer of a product. For instance, the State of Maharashtra requires the plastic packaging material (of 50 micron thickness) to be printed with manufacturer's details, type of plastic with code-number and buy-back price while the State of Uttar Pradesh requires the name and registration number of the manufacturer.

Please ensure that only those plastic or thermocol products, which are in compliance with applicable laws, are sold through and listed on Amazon.in marketplace going forward.

Can I list items on website and ship plastic items only through self-ship?

You cannot list items on website and ship plastic items only through self-ship. Many States in India have banned the manufacture, sale, storage, transportation, trading, import and use of plastic carry bags, disposable plastic or thermocol products (such as disposable dishes and pouches) and/or plastic or thermocol products for decoration purposes, the details of which are provided here. Please contact your advisors to understand the compliance requirements in this regard.

How will I know if the new products I intend to list are banned items or not?

Identify the area of your business and check the laws applicable to such areas. The nature of banned products may differ from State to State. You may also refer to the list provided here to see the details of the States (except Maharashtra) and the corresponding materials banned in such States.

Why are similar products from other Sellers live on the website?

Amazon.in has millions of products listed on the marketplace by multiple Sellers. Depending upon the location of the Seller, product and the customer, the requirements of the banned items (as imposed by multiple States) may vary. While Sellers are mandated to independently comply with the requirement pertaining to banned items, as a responsible marketplace, we are also asking Sellers to de-list the products, which are banned.

What will happen to customer orders for banned items, which fall in return window?

Customer orders for banned products which have already been processed and have been returned back to FC within the return window will be removed through our regular removal processing cycles. For orders returned directly to the Seller, our suggestion to Sellers would be to process reimbursement to the customer for that order and not re-list these products on Amazon.in to ensure compliance. For return orders fulfilled by Amazon, reimbursement for customers will be processed in accordance with the Business Solutions Agreement.

Am I expected to create removals for the banned products currently in-stock in FC? Who will bear the cost of removals?

Amazon will create removals on your behalf and ship it to your business address available in Seller Central. We urge you to ensure your business address is updated accurately in your Seller Central account by August 18, 2018 to avoid ‘Undeliverable’ issues due to incorrect address subsequent to which products will be returned to Amazon and may be disposed of. As a one-time exception and in the interest of speedy compliance and optimal seller experience, Amazon will bear the cost of these removals.

Is ‘Plastic Ban’ applicable to packaging material? What actions is Amazon taking to ensure compliance pertinent to plastic pack aging (poly-bags, poly-jiffy, bubble-wrap, shrink-wrap, opaque-bags, Pouches, and Air pillows) used during Inbound Prep and Outbound packaging?

Yes. Plastic carry bags are banned and are defined to typically include within its ambit packaging material as well. The description may differ from State-to-State.

Amazon uses packaging material which is in compliance with the applicable laws.

I am an Easy Ship and Seller Flex Seller. What should I use as an alternate Packaging material? What will be the additional packaging cost I need to bear?

This may depend upon the State-specific requirement. For instance, usage of disposable plastic carry bags 50 or more microns thickness having the name and registration number of manufacturer is currently allowed in Uttar Pradesh.

We recommend you take independent advice from your legal advisors to understand your obligations and compliances with respect to usage of packaging material in a particular State.

Note: DISCLAIMER: THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS GENERAL INFORMATION AND NOTHING IN THIS COMMUNICATION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO BE OR IS INTENDED TO BE LEGAL OR COMPLIANCE ADVICE. AMAZON DOES NOT CLAIM TO BE THE LEGAL ADVISOR FOR ANY SELLER OPERATING ON ITS MARKETPLACE IN INDIA. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CONTACT YOUR LEGAL ADVISORS TO UNDERSTAND YOUR OBLIGATIONS AND COMPLIANCE UNDER THE LOCAL LAWS IN CONNECTION WITH USE OF PLASTIC AND SALE OF PLASTIC AND THERMOCOL PRODUCTS AND ANY OTHER BANNED ITEMS.
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