Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) major ITC has introduced the country’s first multilayered plastic (MLP) collection and recycling initiative in Pune, tying up with a waste-pickers co-operative (Swach) at one end and recyclers such as Shakti Plastic at the other to ensure sustainable plastic waste management.
The project is of significance because MLP is difficult to recycle and has posed a huge challenge to all stakeholders, including companies, consumers and policymakers in the war on plastic.
User industries, including packaged food companies, argue there is no replacement to MLP, which simply put consists of multiple layers of plastic and other materials such as aluminum foils, paper, paper-boards etc, which are all part of the packaging.
Waste collectors and rag pickers typically don’t collect this waste, littering streets, dumps and sewage canals.
In some cases, this waste is taken to cement kilns as an alternative to fossil fuels (such as coal) at these plants and mixed with bitumen for road construction.
Sending MLP waste to cement kilns while being an easy method to dispose it makes no economic sense at all, since recyclers have to transport this waste to plants at their own cost.
Where ITC steps in is that it is buying MLP waste from garbage collectors at the very start and then sorting and baling this with the help of Swach before it is sent to recyclers such as Shakti Plastic.
At the recycling unit, ITC has invested in technology to help convert the MLP waste into pellets, used for making everyday items such as plastic chairs, stools, files, clips, buckets, mugs etc.
This is an end-to-end solution where sustainable plastic waste management is the objective.
Reference- ITC website, Business Standard