India’s plastic pact; a book for waste

WhatPackaging?’s weekly updates on news stories gearing toward a sustainable future.

04 Sep 2021 | By PrintWeek Team

India the first Asian country to launch a plastics pact

World-Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF India) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have joined hands to develop a platform to promote a circular system for plastics. The new platform called, the ‘India Plastic Pact,’ was launched by British High Commissioner to India, Alexander Ellis, recently. “This will bring together prominent enterprises on a national level to make pledges toward the creation of a circular plastics system. The pact works to create a world where Plastic is respected and does not contaminate the environment,” a statement issued by WWF India said. India generates 9.46-million tonnes of plastic waste annually, of which 40% is not collected; about half of all plastics produced in the country are used in packaging, most of it is single use in nature. Commitments made under the pact aim to keep plastic packaging in the economy and out of the natural environment. The statement mentioned 17 businesses, including major FMCG brands, manufacturers, retailers and recyclers have committed to the pact as founding members, and nine have joined as supporting organisations. The pact, like similar one, has time-bound targets for reducing, innovating and re-imagining plastic packaging. Targets to be achieved by 2030 include defining a list of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging and items and taking measures to address them through redesign and innovation. About 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable, 50% of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled and 25% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

North DMC's 50-tonnes per day plastic plant  

Commissioner of North Delhi Municipal Corporation Sanjay Goel has said that the municipal body is going to set up a 50 tonnes per day (TPD) plastic waste processing plant at Tikri Kalan as per the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 and Central Pollution Control Board guidelines. Goel said, about 4,500 MT of municipal solid waste gets generated and collected in the jurisdiction of North DMC. Out of which, about 450 MT constitutes the plastic waste which comprises recyclable and non-recyclable components. He added that the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has come up with the action plan to eliminate single use plastic and to implement plastic waste management Rules, 2016. A waste processing facility is already being run at Narela-Bawana for processing of 2000 TPD municipal solid waste including plastic waste collected from three zones of North DMC. He said that approximately 350 TPD RDF collected from Bhalaswa site through bio-mining of legacy waste is also being used in waste to energy plants at Narela-Bawana. He further said that an integrated waste to energy plant in collaboration with IOCL for processing of Municipal Solid waste including plastic waste is also under process.

Zomato changing setting on app to reduce waste

Zomato is introducing a little change in its apps to reduce plastic waste. Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal announced that the default option which automatically requests for cutlery from restaurants will now be unticked. If you need cutlery like plastic straws, napkins, spoons, etc then you will have to select the option on your own. In case you skip it, then your food will be delivered without any cutlery. Earlier, by default users got free cutlery with their food order unless they opted-out of it. The company surveyed thousands of our customers, and a whopping 90%+ of them said that they didn’t really need plastic cutlery with their orders. Keeping this in mind, it decided to change the default mode for cutlery – customers will now have to explicitly request for cutlery, tissues, and straws, if they need it. This is now a ‘opt-in’ instead of a ‘opt-out’. As per Goyal, this small change can help save up to 5,000 kilos of plastic in a day.

A book made from recycled plastic to last 1,000 years

What would you write in a letter to your great-great-great-grandchild? That is the central question at the heart of a new thought-provoking artwork called Letters to the Future from Vietnam creative agency Ki Saigon. The project serves as a far more thoughtful and productive commentary on the detriments of single-use plastic than the trendy reprimanding of those who opt for plastic straws over their paper counterparts. Sponsored by the Vietnamese pizza chain Pizza 4P’s to mark their 10th anniversary and bolster their commitment to the environment, Letters to the Future is composed of handwritten notes participants have penned to their future descendants and gathered from all over the world that have then been individually silk-screen printed by hand onto pages made from salvaged plastic. “The book that lasts a thousand years” was six months in the making as 327 letters were collected from 22 countries over four months, while local recyclers in Vietnam helped to gather plastic bags, styrofoam boxes, bubble wrap, and plastic sheets needed for the base material of the book’s pages. These assorted plastics were then ironed in between teflon/baking paper to create the pages themselves. “This book brings together the polar opposites of negative and positive,” writes Ki Saigon on the Letters to the Future project website. “On one hand, it shows optimism, hope, and compassion for the future of the planet. On the other hand, it shows the everlasting detriment of our actions when it comes to single-use plastic.” The finished product is a tactile plastic scrapbook of different languages, handwriting styles, colours, shapes, and textures, all bound by the duality of single-use plastic.

Countries take steps toward curbing plastic waste in oceans

An intergovernmental conference has taken early steps toward drawing up an agreement to curb plastic pollution and marine litter around the world, which can choke off sea life, harm food safety and coastal tourism, and contribute to climate change. A draft resolution presented by Peru and Rwanda, and backed by the European Union and several other countries, at the end of a two-day Geneva conference recently amounts to a procedural step, but one that aims to build momentum for drawing up language as early as next year on a binding global deal. The draft, which mostly aims to set up a committee to negotiate the language of a possible accord, is expected to be considered at a UN Environment Assembly meeting in February. Supporters hope to unify fragmented efforts to curb such waste around the world. They hope to take into account the full lifecycle of plastics — from production to consumption to waste management, treatment and prevention. Conference organisers say up to 12 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans each year, and the flow is expected to triple by 2040. So far, nearly five-billion tons of plastic produced since the early 1950s has ended up in either landfills or in the natural environment, they said. “The end goal, or the target, is to have zero waste,” said Oliver Boachie, a special adviser to the government of Ghana, which co-organised the conference with Ecuador, Germany and Vietnam. More than 1,000 representatives from over 140 countries took part, along with advocacy groups.

Macpac launches new sustainability campaign

UK packaging specialist Macpac has launched a dedicated campaign delivering a personalised and key sustainability message for its sector customer base, as it continues its drive to deliver environmentally sustainable solutions for sectors including confectionery markets. As the Stockport-based business explained, its customised newsletters will explore the changing packaging legislation policies and how these could affect companies’ operations, and will address issues designing product ranges that meet fast-evolving industry requirements. The newsletter is set to cover imminent new legislation as Extended Producer Responsibility or EPR, the Plastic Packaging Tax coming next April applying to plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, (with the business asserting its packaging has a minimum of 80% recycled content). Other aspects covered will be the Deposit Return Scheme (DR) and increasing consistency in kerbside collection.