Huhtamaki helps clean plastics from Mithi river

Packaging major Huhtamaki has announced the contribution of close to 5.80 crores to fund a project that aims to stop the flow of plastic into the Indian Ocean from the Mithi river in Mumbai.

24 Oct 2020 | By WhatPackaging? Team

The Mithi river project will be run by a partnership of global organisations 

The project is one of three initiatives that Huhtamaki has funded as part of its 100th anniversary to address global sustainability challenges and build and learn from circular economy initiatives globally.

The Mithi river project will be run by a global partnership between the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, RiverRecycle and Earth5R. According to the company, each partner has a unique role in the project which seeks to use emerging technologies to collect plastic waste from the river and raise awareness on effective waste management to drive systemic change locally. The project also focuses on developing ways to valorize waste, for instance, by turning it into valuable fuels, chemicals, bioenergy and bio-fertilisers.

Charles Heaulme, president and CEO of Huhtamaki, said, “Huhtamaki is committed to protecting people, food and the planet. We are happy to support local initiatives together with partners across the value chain, learning from those experiences, and developing the systemic changes towards circularity and a sustainable future globally.”

As part of the project, Earth5R, a Mumbai-based citizen-led environmental movement will organise local workshops with key stakeholders on effective waste management and recycling to drive systemic change.

RiverRecycle, a Finnish cleantech start-up, will provide the technology to collect the plastic and floating debris from the river for recycling, thus stopping it from entering the Indian Ocean. While VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland will collect and analyse data on the floating waste and its seasonal variations to optimise the river’s clean-up operations and recycling process development for the future. It will also share this information to support future circular economy studies and initiatives.

The United Nations Technology Innovation Labs will be the organisation managing the project which will provide expertise on valorising the collected waste via sorting and recycling activities. “The partnership organisations are delighted to be working with the Huhtamaki team and look forward to delivering this groundbreaking initiative over the coming 18 months,” said Professor Joseph Adelegan, Circular Economy Lead for the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs. “The collected data will also support future circular economy studies and can serve as a starting point for possible future clean-up actions with optimal resource use.”