In­vest In Waste Mgmt | Use Pa­per-Based Com­postable Packs

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - John Sarkar & Namrata Singh IN­DUS­TRY SIZE ($/BN) Auto OEMs LAST 5-YEAR CAGR Au­to­mo­tive Com­po­nents

New Delhi: The gov­ern­ment’s ap­peal to re­duce plas­tic us­age has pushed com­pa­nies rang­ing from Nes­tle, McDon­ald’s, Parle Agro to Amul and Flip­kart to search for en­vi­ron­ment-friendly so­lu­tions. Swiss food ma­jor Nes­tle, for in­stance, has in­cen­tivised con­sumers in Dehradun and Mus­soorie by giv­ing them a packet of Maggi for ev­ery 10 empty Maggi noo­dles pack­ets. The com­pany is also try­ing to solve the chal­lenge of serv­ing hot bev­er­ages in 100% pa­per-based op­tions.

Sim­i­larly, the maker of Amul-branded prod­ucts — Gu­jarat Co­op­er­a­tive Milk Mar­ket­ing Fed­er­a­tion (GCMMF) — has ap­pointed agen­cies to pick up mul­ti­layer pack­ag­ing (MLP) packs of ice-cream sticks that are trashed by con­sumers. “There is a cost in­volved in do­ing this and we will be spend­ing the req­ui­site amount. How­ever, this will not be passed on to con­sumers,” said GCMMF MD R S Sodhi.

Parle Agro, maker of soft drink Frooti, said it will spend over Rs 50 crore in the next three years to im­ple­ment an end-to-end PET plas­tic waste man­age­ment pro­gramme. All the re­cy­cled plas­tic will be chan­nelled to tex­tiles and other non-al­lied in­dus­try seg­ments, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany. Na­dia Chauhan, MD and CMO, Parle Agro, said, “Given our 30% growth rate, our ‘PET sus­tain­abil­ity’ in­vest­ments will most def­i­nitely in­crease ev­ery year.”

While Flip­kart has ap­plied for a pro­vi­sional ap­pli­ca­tion for patent of re­cy­cled pa­per-based, per­fo­rated two-ply cor­ru­gated roll for wrap­ping pur­pose and ap­pa­ra­tus for man­u­fac­tur­ing the same, US burger chain McDon­ald’s has stopped us­ing sev­eral sin­gle-use plas­tic items in its out­lets.

Pack­ag­ing, con­sumer goods lead plas­tic in­dus­try growth

Most com­pa­nies aim to fully com­ply with their goals within the five-year dead­line (2025) they have set for them­selves. How­ever, it looks un­re­al­is­tic due to sup­ply chain con­straints and the lack of vi­able cost-ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tives to plas­tic in the mar­ket. The steep cost of ini­tial ramp-up stage dur­ing the roll­out of al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions, too, is be­ing borne by these com­pa­nies.

Kitchen­ware brand Tup­per­ware In­dia said it will stop us­ing sin­gle-use plas­tic for its prod­uct pack­ag­ing, and will in­stead use re­cy­clable pa­per-based com­postable pack­ag­ing ma­te­rial. The com­pany’s ex­penses are ex­pected to in­crease by around 7% due to the tran­si­tion.

“A cer­tain amount of PET bot­tles may still be re­cy­cled as they are in good sup­ply from rag pick­ers, but ‘mul­ti­layer’ pack­ag­ing that is used in the food-pro­cess­ing sec­tor to in­crease shelf life is noto

In­dia may do bet­ter than some peers in man­ag­ing waste

ri­ously dif­fi­cult to re­cy­cle. And there aren’t many cost­ef­fec­tive op­tions ei­ther,” said for­mer Coca-Cola In­dia head Venkatesh Kini, who has co-founded a global on­line ag­gre­ga­tor of star­tups — Ubun­too, fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing en­vi­ron­ment-friendly so­lu­tions for in­dus­tries.

Maggi pouches, for in­stance, fall in the ‘mul­ti­layer’ pack­ag­ing cat­e­gory along with sev­eral other prod­ucts such as sham­poo sa­chets, which ac­count for 70% of all sham­poos sold in In­dia. “We have al­ready started our jour­ney to­wards tran­si­tion to mono-ma­te­rial pack­ag­ing and have ini­ti­ated pro­duc­tion for two of our prod­ucts — Maggi noo­dles and Munch. For Maggi pack­ag­ing, in com­pli­ance with the plas­tic waste man­age­ment rules, we are cur­rently man­ag­ing it by ei­ther us­ing it as fuel by send­ing it to ce­ment kilns or by send­ing it as waste to en­ergy plants,” said a Nes­tle In­dia spokesper­son.

Other large con­sumer goods com­pa­nies such as HUL, Pep­siCo and ITC, which use mul­ti­layer pack­ag­ing, aim to use 100% of pack­ag­ing that is re­us­able, re­cy­clable or com­postable within five to 10 years. They have cur­rently launched ex­ten­sive waste man­age­ment pro­grammes across the coun­try to col­lect and re­cy­cle dif­fer­ent forms of plas­tic waste. Flip­kart claims to have al­ready re­duced plas­tic ap­pli­ca­tion by 25% through ini­tia­tives in its pack­ag­ing value chain. The largest pub­lic sec­tor lender, State Bank of In­dia, with 22,010 branches (as of March 31, 2019) has pro­posed to do away with the use of plas­tic fold­ers and sin­gle-use plas­tic bot­tles with eco-friendly sub­sti­tutes across all of­fices.

While In­dia’s per capita con­sump­tion of plas­tic of 11kg per year is low com­pared to 109kg for mar­kets such as the US, the prob­lem lies with an in­ad­e­quate waste man­age­ment sys­tem that sends most plas­tic into wa­ter­ways and land­fills and even­tu­ally into the hu­man food chain. Last week, the gov­ern­ment clar­i­fied that there is no ban on sin­gle-use plas­tic, and the ‘Swach­hata Hi Seva’ cam­paign launched by PM Modi is about cre­at­ing aware­ness and a peo­ple’s move­ment to curb its use.

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