ITC Paperboards and Specialty Papers Division (PSPD), a leading manufacturer of paper, paperboards and specialty paper in the country, has collaborated with Invest India to launch the 'ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge', which would support innovative start-up ideas on sustainable packaging and smart waste management solutions. This win-win partnership will enable ITC-PSPD to leverage India's rich start-up repertoire whilst also providing support to the country's start-up ecosystem.
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.
The startups selected for the 'ITC Sustainability Innovation Challenge' will be offered incentives at various stages of the programme. This includes expert mentorship, 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.
Commenting on the initiative, Vadiraj Kulkarni, chief executive officer 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, leading to a lot of waste ending up in landfills that are highly polluting. We at ITC, believe 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 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."
Deepak Bagla, managing director and chief executive officer, Invest India, said, "We look forward to accelerating efforts towards a more sustainable economic growth through the ITC Innovative Sustainability Challenge. Innovative startups will be able to showcase Made-in-India solutions that propel India towards a circular economy. On behalf of Invest India, I invite start-ups to be part of India's growth journey."
For sustainable packaging, ITC is inviting ideas to replace plastic-based products with compostable food delivery solutions using molded fiber packaging based on wood fiber, agri-waste, etc. Besides, the 'Sustainability Innovation Challenge' with Start-up India is also inviting solutions under recyclable and/or compostable barrier coatings for papers and paperboards category.
For the challenge of waste segregation, collection, and handling, ITC PSPD invites innovative and technology-based solutions for managing the household and municipality 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.
ITC Paperboards is a clear leader in Value Added Paperboards in India. ITC PSPD has been a pioneer in introducing specially designed branded Paperboards based on end-use applications. The company focuses on substituting single-use plastics packaging with fiber-based solutions among the sustainability initiatives. Some of the sustainable packaging innovations pioneered by ITC are - the Omega Series: completely Biodegradable under composting conditions and the Filo Series: completely Recyclable in existing standard recycling conditions. Other innovations include Bioseal: biodegradable packaging for packaged/fast-food & personal care industries, Oxyblock: recyclable structure with barrier properties for edible oils, etc. ITC's flagship Wellbeing out of Waste (ITC WoW) program, partners with municipal bodies across India to bring the benefits of integrated waste management systems to 1.5 crore citizens in India.