Imposing Incentives on Waste Collection can Make India the First Country that will be Free from Plastic Waste
Sept 08, 2018 Agra, Uttar Pradesh: Emphasizing the need for recycling of multi layered plastic packaging as a sustainable solution for flexible packaging industry, Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman & Managing Director, UFlex Limited expressed his concrete views at Pack Vision 2018 hosted by Flexible Packaging Entrepreneurs’ Welfare Association recently.
Flexible packaging, a 100 billion dollar industry, comprises the largest part of the total packaging industry growing at an average of 4.5 – 5 % globally.
There is a great deal of misconception on plastic being the mere culprit to cause harm to the environment by choking the gutters, affecting the Marine life and harming the birds and animals which consume the littered plastics floating around both on the land and sea. Multi layered plastic packaging is 100% recyclable and consumes minimum amount of energy in the process as compared to glass jars and metallic containers which consume 20 times more energy and causes much more pollution while converting glass into glass or metal into metal.
Expressing his views during the conference Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, CMD, Uflex Limited said, “When we were undergoing a major expansion in 1991, some people suggested me that you are putting a huge amount of money in flexible packaging which is totally plastic based, what will happen tomorrow if plastic comes under question because it is not environment friendly. I took that critic very positively and created a team at that time who worked only on multi layer waste plastic recycle and we thought if we can recycle this then we will have answers to the future problem which we are witnessing today. You all will be very glad to know that we were able to do it in 4 years of time starting from 1991 to 1995. We have also been awarded internationally with Best Paper Award as a testament to unrelenting work towards carbon footprint neutralization and sustainability much before these became global concerns. The award was given for the subject of ‘recycling of mixed plastic waste comprising of laminated films of Metallized PET/ LDPE/BOPP and printed with inks. The Indian Government rewarded us later with a cheque of Rs. 50,000 for doing this job but unfortunately nobody has followed recycling as nobody thought it could be the call of the day”.
He further added, “Multi layered plastic is easily recyclable and we can make more than 10,000 items out of it which can be put to proper use. We welcome all of you to our plant at Noida to observe the process of recycling plastic waste. Also, I strongly suggest that all the converters and brand owners should collectively set up a recycle centre at every district so that the waste generated during the operations can be recycled and every plant is waste free. Moreover, various other trials are going on and we are working to give you answers as to how we can recycle the plastic laminated with aluminum; we will give you that answer soon”.
UFlex Limited packaging manufacturing facilities are equipped with reprocessing plants where multilayered laminates are converted into polymeric pellets that are further used for making various non-critical and non-food contact utility items. The company’s Waste to Energy plants further up-hold their commitment towards environmental sustainability. UFlex is also working towards installing Waste to fossil fuel conversion plant at their Noida precinct soon.
Concluding the session, Mr. Chaturvedi said, “I would like to say that the biggest problem in our country related to the topic on which I am sharing my views is waste collection. To address this, the Government could consider imposing some amount of incentive on plastic waste being collected from the roads and transferred to recycle centers. The way rag pickers are picking up paper waste and selling it at Rs. 8/kg in the same way a price should be set for collecting plastic waste at Rs.30 or Rs. 35/kg. The rag pickers will pick up the waste but they should be immediately paid in cash at recycle centers and this will happen with the support of government only. It will provide employment opportunities to people who do not have any job; a lot of females can work and start collecting waste. There has to be an incentive for a rag picker for him to pick up waste. He will clean himself if he is getting a price for it. I am of the firm view that India will become the first country that will be free from plastic waste setting examples for others”.
If the world used 100% flexible packaging we could annually save 26 million tons of packaging material, 42 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 276 million metric tons of water.