Surendra Patawari: How to recycle plastic better
Surendra Patawari, founder and chairman, Gemini Corporation addressed the issue of recycling and the opportunities for the investor community during the 9th edition of Specialty Films and Flexible Packaging.
21 Sep 2022 | By Abhay Avadhani
“Ready-to-sell plastic recycling can improve the plastic waste situation. Also it is a great business opportunity,” said Surendra Patawari in his opening remarks. He said that global plastic recycling is seeing a dip. He crunched some numbers for the benefit of the 1550 delegates at Sahara Star hotel. He said his company - Gemini Corporation - collects plastic waste from 250 locations in 60 countries every month. He addressed the issue of decrease in recycling in UK municipalities and American recycling centres which reported a 5.7% decrease in packaging recycling. “At this rate, we would have 12-bn tonnes of plastic waste by 2050,” said Patawari.
After being in this business for 36 years he said that plastic is a material we cannot live without for an hour. “We use things in our daily lives which are manufactured with plastics. This includes, mobile phones, toothbrushes, shampoo bottles, car parts, computer systems; the list is endless,” he added. Patawari believes there is ignorance about the severity of the problems of plastics and how to deal with fugitive plastic.
He highlighted the severity of the problem. He said that there is a lot of plastic but there is no collection and over two-billion people worldwide do not have access to the basic waste management system. He said, “the issue is huge and people would be forced to take care of these issues through producer's responsibility, plastic waste, the situations or the plastic recycling credit.”
Later, Patawari addressed the theme of plastic recycling credit which represents that you have recycled plastic and “this credit would provide the user with incentives for the collections.” He added, “The plastic recycling saves CO2 credits. This was the main agenda during the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow,” he added.
He believed that a successful resolution of the carbon credit issue is an important milestone for plastic recycling credit and as per the net zero policy, many international companies are reducing their carbon dioxide emissions on the other side to neutralise their carbon footprint.
Then he addressed EPR as a challenge for its enforcement in the interior of the country. He said, “I think there is too much pressure on the plastic industry from the politicians and from the public and EPR may not cover the total cost of collection of plastics.” He said that the value of plastic recycling credit will depend on the credibility of the project, social impact and the financial parameters in the region you are working.
Patawari added, “ if you're exporting any product from India to the UK, the importer has to pay to the extent of short haul and such legal stipulations are promoting recycling.” He believes that this has forced the UN to go for a plastic treaty in which 75 countries have adopted a resolution for negotiating a legal plastic recycling treaty. The stakeholders are seeking plastic-reduction. But Surendra Patawari took the contrary view and said “plastics agriculture would become difficult, automobiles would become heavier and we cannot live without plastics.
“Our company completed a project in India covering rural and urban areas which involves collection of plastic waste right from the base container to give it a new life,” he said. He added that this project has a team of 15 technologists to provide a robust way of traceability and transparency and also blockchain technology.
While concluding his speech, Patwari reiterated that “global recycling and waste management business is as big as the GDP of India. It is a USD3.5 trillion market.” In his closing remarks he said, “Somebody has to pay for the cost of plastic waste either in the form of EPR or voluntary plastic recycling credits. The recycling business will drive one of the biggest allocations of capital resources in the 21st century.”