Nothing goes to waste!

Amrita Prasad
Monday, 3 September 2018

Two organisations explain how, through their initiatives, they are reducing the waste of packaging material by putting it to good use

After Maharashtra government’s decision to ban plastic, many products across the industries have come under the scanner. However, one key issue needs to be addressed — what about the plastic that is used in packaging? Or other things like cartons used for packaging? The key to a healthier planet, many argue, lies in proper waste segregation, management and recycling. 

Applying this thought process are Tetra Pak India and woohoo doodh, a farm fresh brand of Happy Beverages and Foods Pvt Ltd. Here’s knowing more about their initiatives...

Waste is wealth

Tetra Pak and Shriman Enterprises, a Pune-based waste management organisation, have kicked off an awareness programme for waste  pickers and consumers on solid waste management practices and recycling of used tetra pak cartons. It aims sensitisation of over 600 waste pickers and thousands of consumers over the next few months. 

Jaideep Gokhale, marketing communications director, Region South Asia, East Asia & Oceania at Tetra Pak says, “We have been working with Shriman Enterprises on several waste collection projects over last one decade. Through this new programme, Tetra Pak aims to significantly increase recycling of used Tetra Pak cartons in Pune.” 

On August 15, students at Supari Tank Municipal School, Bandra, Mumbai, received  brand new, beautiful, sturdy desks and chairs, all made through recycling of tetra Pak. The company has been promoting the recycling of their paper-based cartons in Mumbai for over eight years, and has donated 10 sets of classroom furniture to the school, as part of their ongoing programme called ‘Cartons Le Aao, Classroom Banao’. 

“The programme encourages Mumbaikars to deposit used Tetra Pak cartons at deposit centres across the city, which are then recycled into desks, notebooks, roofing sheets and much more,” inform Gokhale. 

Supari Tank Municipal school is also the only BMC school that acts as a used carton drop-off point, with students and staff regularly collecting the used cartons for recycling. Tetra Pak then sends these cartons to a recycler, who helps convert them into useful items. 

Gokhale says that recycling of their paper-based and fully recyclable cartons is an important part of their organisational ethos. “For more than a decade, we are working towards creating an ecosystem of recycling in the country. Maharashtra is one of the top states with the highest recycling. We believe that with continued awareness and sensitisation initiatives, this will increase significantly in the years to come,” he adds. 

Tetra Pak, along with Shriman Enterprises, is working on raising awareness about the recycling of the cartons among the waste picker community, as well as enabling their collection and despatch to recyclers. It is also responsible for educating consumers about proper waste management practices through workshops at various schools, colleges and housing societies.

When asked if ‘buy back’ scheme will encourage consumers to return cartons instead of dumping them, Gokhale says, he isn’t a big fan of ‘buy back.’ “How long will you go on paying people to do their bit for society and the globe? I have seen these buy back schemes and even resorted to a few, but in the long run, they don’t work. One has to be socially and environmentally conscious to realise that tetra pak carton is dry waste. We should understand proper waste segregation and recycling,” he asserts.

A new packaging technique 

Happy Beverages and Foods Pvt Ltd, which launched its farm fresh milk brand woohoo doodh, aims at designing a quality focussed, sustainable business model all across the value chain to create an environment-friendly packaging system. woohoo doodh is into production, packaging and distribution of A2 Milk in Pune and supplies to 1,500 households in Pune and PCMC contributing to 1,100 litres of total requirement of 13 lakh litres of milk everyday in the areas. 

Its founder, Rahul Uppal, an engineer-turned-entrepreneur, says that they aim to keep their products’ packaging non-polluting from the start, hence they have imported Gable Top machine from California and partnered with Parkson’s Packaging Ltd. “Gable Top is one of the most popular milk packaging across the world and woohoo doodh became the first brand in India to launch it. We promote sustainable practices and believe strongly that Gable Top is the carton of the future. Earlier milk cartons used aseptic packaging with 35 per cent thick aluminum foil layer, which is difficult to separate and recycle. However, Gable Top consists of three layers — one thick layer of recyclable virgin paper pulp board which constituted 90 per cent of the carton. Two thin layers on either side of the paperboard made of PE (polyethylene) coating constituted the remaining 10 per cent of the carton. Gable Top can be easily shredded in any paper mill and can be segregated as paper waste from households.”  

Uppal points out that Gable Top also erases the need for a separate vessel to store milk. Since the packaging is sturdy and opaque, it protects milk from any kind of exposure and the natural fibres in the paper maintain the freshness. 

Supporting the plastic ban, woohoo doodh has introduced ‘Pack Back’ option for its consumers, where the empty cartons are taken back from households for proper disposal. Says Uppal, “We have been collecting empty cartons from our consumers and responsibly disposing them off, contributing in the process of being eco-friendly and doing our bit for the environment. woohoo doodh has an option for its consumers to return the empty cartons that are collected by the delivery boys the next day. Although in its nascent stage, woohoo doodh has delivered one million recyclable cartons till date. “We have dedicated service teams for our consumers who keep informing them and professing the idea of proper disposal and segregation of dry and wet garbage.” 

 

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