Updates on India’s single-use plastic ban

7 February 2020

In response to feedback from shipping companies experiencing difficulties complying with deadlines stipulated in “Order no. 5 of 2019 prohibiting use of single-use plastic items on-board merchant ships calling Indian ports or places”, the Indian Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) has issued a revised implementation schedule of the aforesaid Order. The new schedule will afford shipping companies additional time to implement the necessary logistical arrangements.

The details of the revised schedule and additional compliance guidance are provided in Addendum to Order no. 5 of 2019, issued on 8 January 2020.

Re-definition of single-use plastics (SUP)

The Addendum clarifies that SUPs are items which are completely made of plastic.

The following re-usable plastic items used on ships are excluded from this definition:

  • Juice/milk packets/ tetra-packs with plastic lining or caps;
  • Biodegradable plastic with a stamp, marking or certificate from the manufacturer or something similar,
  • Cargo-related items and packaging,
  • Personal protective equipment, medicines, medical equipment, life-saving appliances, etc.; and
  • Crew and passenger personnel effects (until further notice).

New implementation timeline

As of 31 January 2020, all cargo ships calling Indian ports or places must keep an inventory identifying all single-use plastic items on board covered by the prohibition. The deadline for passenger ships is 31 March 2020.

Ship operators must subsequently develop an execution plan determining phase out dates for items listed in the inventory list, taking into account each ship’s operational requirements and crewing needs.

The ship’s execution plan shall, at minimum, comply with the following implementation schedule:




More details regarding inventory content can be found in the revised Frequently Asked Questions issued by the DGS on 28 January 2020.

Waste reception facilities

The Addendum also clarifies that waste reception facilities in Indian ports will continue to accept single-use plastic items. These items should however be segregated and marked for disposal.