Mondelez India invests to recycle multi-layered plastics in India

Grant to NGO Hasiru Dala to recycle MLP into durable and sustainable boards
Mondelez India invests to recycle multi-layered plastics in India
Photo - Mondelez India

Mondelez India recently announced a grant to Hasiru Dala, an NGO that will recycle Multi-Layered Plastic (MLP) waste to create sustainable furniture boards to create tables, benches, and other uses. The pilot project will use the technology purchased from start-up TrashCon, to convert ~600 tonnes of MLP waste per annum into 'WoW Boards'. The project was facilitated by Ubuntoo, a global environmental solutions company.

"One of the key challenges in India is recycling of multi-layered plastics given infrastructure constraints. While, on the one hand, we continue to work with the government to support collection, segregation, and recycling, we felt it was critical to experiment and support enterprising technologies and initiatives that can recycle multi-layered plastics at scale to address the issues of waste management. This unique and one-of-a-kind pilot project recycles multi-layered plastics to create WoW Boards that are highly durable and a sustainable plywood alterative for building, construction, furniture, and other end-uses. We have made a grant to Hasiru Dala that will convert waste to wealth, generate employment and create a viable business model while addressing the challenges of MLP in a sustainable manner. The success of this project and its learnings will create a model for companies in India to replicate MLP recycling at scale. We are very excited to pilot this initiative.", said Deepak Iyer, president – India, Mondelēz International.

"Ubuntoo works with thousands of innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to address some of the planet's biggest environmental challenges. This pilot project is especially exciting because it has global potential to help solve not just plastic waste, but also reduce the huge environmental footprint of the building and construction industry.", said Venkatesh Kini, co-founder of Ubuntoo.

As part of this initiative, MLP waste will be collected by Hasiru Dala's wide network of waste collection units and then processed and converted at a special unit set up in 'WoW Boards', which is a highly durable efficient alternative to plywood. The technology solution provided by TrashCon, a start-up waste recycling equipment manufacturer, will create highly durable WoW Boards that can be used for a variety of purposes – both industrial and consumer. Through funding by Mondelez India and in partnership with its impact investing arm, Sustainable Futures, the initiative is expected to begin commercial production in July 2021.

"Hasiru Dala has been working with local government in Bengaluru to manage inorganic waste for several years by creating entrepreneurs out of waste pickers. We have always been looking for solutions to multi-layered and low-value plastic. A study in 2018 has shown more than 80 percent of plastic waste collected is of low value but brings almost nothing in terms of income to the centers. They typically end up at landfills or in co-processing in cement kilns. The WoW boards will help bring income to the waste pickers and will have applications, particularly in replacing wood-based sheets in construction and furnishings," said Nalini Shekar, co-founder, Hasiru Dala.

"At TrashCon, we have invented patented technology to convert MLP coming from houses, streets, and even landfills into an alternative to plywood, thus solving not only the plastic issue but also preventing incessant cutting of trees. We're pleased that Mondelez India is supporting Hasiru Dala in adopting TrashCon's technology.", said Nivedha RM, founder, TrashCon.

As part of Mondelēz International's commitment to reducing its environmental impact, it addresses the most significant sustainability challenges relevant to its business, including plastics pollution. Over 97% of Mondelez India's packaging is currently designed to be recyclable. In 2019-2020 and 2020-21, the company achieved 100% Extended Producer Responsibility targets in India.

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