ITC's sustainability drive to phase out single-use plastic in 2022

ITC Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division (PSPD) has collaborated with Invest India to launch the ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge. Entries are being invited through the Startup India portal to find sustainable solutions to substitute single-use plastics and automate the waste segregation process with smart technology-based solutions in order to improve efficiency and speed.

01 Jan 2022 | By Mansi Gupta

ITC's support for single-use plastic, automated waste segregation

ITC PSPD, through the Startup India portal, is inviting responses from startups towards challenges laid out by the company to find sustainable and smart technology-based solutions that can substitute single-use plastics and automate the waste segregation process with smart technology-based solutions to improve efficiency and speed.

Vadiraj Kulkarni, the CEO of ITC PSPD said, "Disposal of plastic and non-biodegradable waste continues to pose the biggest challenge in solid waste management in India. The problem is further aggravated due to inefficient segregation of post-consumer waste at the source which leads to a lot of waste ending up in landfills which are highly polluting."

Kulkarni added, "ITC believes that businesses, both big and small, with their immense managerial and innovative capacity, can come together to contribute significantly towards finding innovative and sustainable packaging and waste management solutions leading to transformative changes in the society. This philosophy manifests in the new ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge’ which underlines our ongoing engagements with the start-up ecosystem through collaboration with Invest India to crowdsource out-of-the box ideas for phasing out single-use plastics by 2022."

As per the official press note, the startups selected will be offered incentives at various stages of the programme. This includes "mentorship from experts, paid pilot opportunity, and assistance in testing and certification at the development stage". This will be followed by support to enable market expansion and capacity building through funding opportunities in the "Early Market Play Stage". Additionally, startups, at the "Late Stage" will get procurement opportunities and could be evaluated, on a case to case basis, for funding and acquisition opportunities as well. The deadline to submit proof of concept is 28 February, 2022.

Deepak Bagla, the managing director and CEO of Invest India, said: “We look forward to accelerating efforts towards a more sustainable economic growth through the ITC Innovative Sustainability Challenge." Invest India is a non-profit venture under the Centre’s Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.

As for waste segregation, collection, and handling, the focus is on innovative and technology-based solutions for managing household and municipal waste based on different material types, such as paper, metal, glass and rigid plastic.

"The ideas must include an effective revenue model for the waste management ecosystem and lead to significant incremental benefits over prevailing methods as the desired outcome from the solutions," the ITC press note added.