Arup Basu: Brand owners must convey to the consumers that they need to pay for recyclability

"There are a bunch of enabling factors that are needed to allow us to recycle flexible packaging. There is an economic compulsion and logistics that need to be created," said Dr. Arup Basu, MD, Huhtamaki-PPL . Basu was addressing the audience at the 8th Global Summit on Specialty Films and Flexible Packaging in Mumbai.

24 Sep 2019 | By WhatPackaging? Team

Basu: Any industry which has a very high recycling rate has consumers who understand that he is paying for the product, for the protection and for recyclability

Basu stated that today convenience and flexibility are key trends shaping the food service industry and food on the go, especially. Instead of being tied to a certain place and time, consumers want to eat anything, anywhere and anytime." Basu added, "Now having seen the convenience, would we (as consumers) be willing to give up on it? Hence we need to moderate our behaviour. “We have good products, we have good technologies, just a bit of cleanup is needed. And as consumers all of us have a responsibility of cleaning up."

Basu who holds a PhD in composite materials talked about resource efficiency of flexible packaging viz-a-viz other materials. He said, “If we have an 80% recycling rate for metals; in a 50g metal, you have a 10g material loss. If I take an extreme example of zero recyclability for flexible packaging, it weighs only 5g and the total material loss is less than the metal loss. One truckload of flexible packaging is used in terms of equivalence of product being packed in 25 trucks of rigid packaging. This is the advantage of flexible packaging.”

"The carbon footprint of a return flight from India to the USA is the equivalent of 45 years of flexible packaging. So we are not destroying the planet by using flexible packaging," said Basu.

"Our industry occupies the middle space, raw materials come from the manufacturers and the end of life is headed somewhere else," explained Basu. He said, "Our industry can look at design, safety and shelf life. Safety and shelf life puts a huge stress on the packaging requirements. When longer shelf life are required, we have a challenge of keeping our promise of protecting what’s inside.”

Basu felt, “Our packaging recycling record is quite poor. And so, one good fallout that will happen from the new legislation is that it will increase the focus on recycling efforts."

Emphasizing on the need for communicating with consumers, Basu said, “Any industry which has a very high recycling rate has consumers who understand that he is paying for the product, for the protection and for recyclability. Consumers must be made aware of this."

Huhtamaki: At a glance

Huhtamaki's blueloop solutions consists of recyclable laminates with mono-material structures utilising PP, PE and paper

One way to understand the climate impact of paper cups is to compare it to driving a car. According to a life cycle analysis, which we co-commissioned, one cup with a lid has the same impact as driving 160-190 metres in a car

As part of Huthamaki's larger sustainability program in India, the company is installing state-of-the-art rooftop solar power units at six key manufacturing plants across the country

On 8 May, 2019, Charles Héaulmé, president and CEO Huhtamaki Oyj, Olli Koponen, executive vice president, flexible packaging Huhtamaki Oyj, Dr Arup Basu, managing director, Huhtamaki-PPL, the India senior leadership team and the employees of its Rudrapur plant inaugurated a brand-new nine-colour rotogravure printing press

Huhtamaki has over 17,000 employees, 77 manufacturing units and operations in 34 countries around the world. In India, the company has 17 plants


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