Finland-based sustainable food packaging manufacturer Huhtamaki has committed €600,000 to fund a project to stop the flow of plastic into the Indian Ocean from the Mithi River in Mumbai, India.
Emerging technologies will be implemented to collect plastic waste from the river. Another goal is to raise local awareness in general of effective waste management, in order to drive systemic change. The project is also focused on developing ways to valorise waste, e.g. by turning it into valuable fuels, chemicals, bio energy and bio fertilisers.
Mithi River project is run by a global partnership between the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs UNTIL, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, RiverRecycle and Earth5R.
The latter is an India-based citizen-led environmental movement, which is organising local hands-on workshops with key stakeholders on effective waste management and recycling, with a view to effecting change through a systemic approach.
The other partners, too, each have a unique role to play. The project is being managed by the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs UNTIL, while RiverRecycle, a Finnish cleantech start-up, will provide the technology to collect the plastic and floating debris from the river for recycling, preventing it from reaching and entering the Indian Ocean.
Data will be collected by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland on the waste in the river and its seasonal variations in order to optimise the river’s clean-up operations and recycling process development for the future. It will share this information to support future initiatives in this area, according to Professor Joseph Adelegan, Circular Economy Lead for the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs.
“The collected data will also support future circular economy studies and can serve as a starting point for possible future clean-up actions with optimal resource use,” he said.
The project is one of three initiatives that Huhtamaki has funded as part of its 100-year anniversary to address global sustainability challenges and build and learn from circular economy initiatives globally.
Huhtamaki is a key global provider of sustainable packaging solutions for consumers around the world, enabling wellbeing and convenience. The company is committed to achieving carbon neutral production and designing all products to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2030.