In India, over 70% of PET waste is recycled and aids livelihoods to millions employed in the entire value chain of recycling process. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is one of the most widely used plastics for packaging applications and is 100% recyclable.
Discarded PET bottles are collected, sorted, cleaned, shredded, and made into washed flakes, which are then used to produce products like polyester fibre. This fibre can be used for a variety of applications, like filling materials for cushions or pillows; or it can be converted into fabrics for use in clothing, upholstery, etc.
This Gandhi Jayanti, PACE (PET Packaging Association for Clean Environment) has launched a special initiative to recognize the contribution of grassroots recyclers – the ragpickers – who make the first and biggest contribution to the recycling of PET bottles. Kicking off a communication campaign ‘Salam Hai’ (‘Salute’) to highlight the contribution of ragpickers in the recycling process of PET bottles, a special video campaign has been released on social media.
‘Salam Hai’ is themed on the life of ragpickers and their contribution to the recycling industry. The video features the ‘silent heroes’ of India who are doing their part without expecting anything in return. Today, ragpickers collect around 500,000 tons per year of post-consumer PET Bottles for producing polyester fibre alone, earning around Rs 1,000 Cr per year for themselves. And as PET bottles are the most widely recycled plastic bottles, thus allows the ragpickers to sustain in their livelihood.