New Delhi: Some of India’s largest fast moving consumer goods makers and packaging manufacturers including PepsiCo India, Coca-Cola India, Bisleri on Thursday came together to announce the launch of a packaging waste management entity in response to growing concerns around plastic waste disposal and a looming ban on single use plastic, which could threaten how these companies sell their brands.
Called “Karo Sambhav", the entity has been developed by PACE or Packaging Association for Clean Environment, an industry body, that counts over 30 companies, including CavinKare, Diageo, Manjushree Technopack Ltd, PepsiCo, Parle Agro, Dabur India, and Coca-Cola among others as its members.
'Karo Sambhav' will work towards recycling packaging material, collection of post-consumer packaging, work across a network of recovery facilities, and converge resources currently being used by its existing members to tackle plastic packaging waste material in what can be seen as a move by consumer goods makers to step up efforts to responsibly dispose off plastic.
Companies such as Coca-Cola, Bisleri, SC Johnson, Reliance Industries, Varun Beverages, Diageo among others have agreed to be part of the entity.
Together, the participating companies will mobilize and converge assets, resources, and investment upwards of ₹1,000 crore, which also includes fresh investments by the members of this new venture into plastic waste management, PACE members said at an event in the capital on Thursday.
The move comes amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to shun usage of single use plastic that might curb the use of items such as plastic spoons, 200 ml PET bottles, plastic straws, cups, plastic packets, among others. This has spooked companies that largely use plastic packaging to sell everything from soaps to fizzy drinks. Over the last few days companies and industry bodies have met various government ministries to discuss feasible solutions and drive home the point that substituting plastic with other materials such as glass or aluminium could drive up costs apart from having a greater carbon footprint. In fact, companies that use PET bottles and jars have maintained that such products are nearly 90% recyclable and therefore products such as 200 ml bottles must be excluded from the list of items that could be phased out.
The venture will enable set up of state-of the-art sorting and recycling facilities across the country, said Angelo George, CEO Bisleri.
“There is no alternative to plastic so banning is not a solution," said Vimal Kedia, President, PACE, adding that the solution is to recycle plastic waste as and when possible. The venture will “close the material loops for multiple types of packaging materials and bring together 60% of plastics value chain in India," he added.
The new venture will also ensure that no recyclable packaging material ends up in landfills by 2025. As part of the initiative, the companies plan to create a network of 125 material recovery facilities in India over the next three years.
To be sure, most FMCG companies have already been making some efforts to recycle plastic waste by tying up with NGO’s and working along with collection centres to ensure collection and recycling of packaging material. But more needs to be done, especially as India’s consumer goods industry continues to grow in size, reaching more households.
“We have come together to scale it up (whatever companies were doing earlier to tackle plastic waste," Bisleri’s Geroge added.
“We’re happy to partake in the launch and subsequent operations of the new producer led venture," said T. Krishnakumar, President Coca-Cola India and South West Asia.
The entity is also hoping to get more FMCG companies on-board. "This will also cover small brands and manufacturers and assist them in providing resources to help with plastic waste management," said Pranshu Singhal, who is leading the set-up of this new venture.