ITC Ltd, which is involved in building scalable and sustainable waste management models, on Wednesday announced a model for the sustainable management of Multi-Layered Plastic (MLP) packaging waste in Pune, in partnership with waste-pickers’ society SWaCH and the PMC.
The initiative also marks the launch of a waste storage facility in Uruli Devachi, with the capacity to handle 200 metric tonnes of MLPs per month. Among those present at the function were Municipal Commissioner Saurabh Rao and PMC Jt Commissioner D S Molak.
MLP packaging is the mainstay of the modern food industry, given its superior ability to preserve the integrity of food. However, the absence of sustainable models in India to enable end-to-end recycling of such plastics has been among the biggest challenges faced by waste management authorities. Therefore, such plastics eventually end up in landfill sites, said Molak. The waste recycling trade has a bias in favour of other forms of plastic and packaging as they fetch higher returns, leaving MLP packaging untreated with few takers.
In its first phase, ITC and SWaCH, in collaboration with PMC, will operate a state-of-the-art waste processing facility with the capacity to manage 200 metric tonnes of MLP waste per month, providing additional income to over 3,500 waste collectors who collect dry and wet waste separately every day. The model can be scaled up progressively across the city by setting up additional hubs.
ITC is also working with local recycling partner Shakti Plastics by extending technical support and sharing the best practices for better value realisation from recycling MLPs. Molak also said there is a huge challenge in managing growing MLP waste because of a lack of interest from the recycling trade chain in processing such plasics.
In a statement issued Wednesday, ITC said it will deploy solutions so that 100 per cent of its product packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable. The model, for the first time, introduces a price for MLP waste which creates an incentive for waste collectors to collect and sort MLP waste as a separate stream. This programme ensures a direct linkage between citizens (generators), waste-pickers, and recyclers, with potential for city-wise scale through replication, said Harshad Barde, general secretary of the waste-pickers’ union KKPKP.
“Waste-pickers are often slammed for the waste that escapes the collection stream and litters the streets through no fault of theirs… This initiative will positively and directly impact waste-pickers by creating value financially, whilst benefitting the environment,” Barde said.