Garbage collectors are now asking people to dump glass bottles in the trash after its resale value dipped on 18 per cent GST being imposed on the commodity. The discarded glass bottles of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages will now be taken to the landfills where they would be smashed. According to garbage collectors, a 750 ml bottle of wine would earlier fetch them Re 1 but now a kilo of such bottles is worth the same. The waste pickers have come around a solution to this. They now smash the bottles and sell the pieces as mixed glass for Re 1 per kilo, Indian Express reported. A waste picker, Mohammad Hamid Ali, told IE that his earnings have come down by 40 per cent since the tax reform. He tells his customers to collect the bottles and return them all together in order for him to get a better price. Products like glass bottles, plastic and paper have all faced similar changes.
The GST therefore is not only affecting the environment but the migrant workers who are losing their livelihoods. Swati Singh Sambhyal, programme officer at Centre for Science and Environment told IE that there are around 3-4 lakh workers in the informal waste management sector who might be affected. The scrap market has also been affected. Contractors are witnessing fewer garbage collectors in areas. The police would ask these smaller garbage collectors about an invoice, which they wouldn’t have, when they see huge quantities of kabaad.
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Balmukund Kumar of Delhi-based NGO Chintan told IE that some waste pickers might still be accepting glass bottles because contractor would have sufficient funds but with time, this money would not reach the garbage collector.