The Huhtamaki Foundation’s #CloseTheLoop initiative, a project with a focus on sustainable packaging solutions and the circular economy, has today inaugurated its first recycling plant in India. The site in Khopoli, Maharashtra, spanning some 2,000 square meters, will recycle about 1,600 kilograms of post-consumer used flexible plastic waste per day from early May on. The Huhtamaki Foundation is a charitable trust settled by Huhtamaki with a view to support the conservation of the environment in India and carry out activities in relation to plastic waste.
India is estimated to generate close to 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste a day. Currently a little over 10,000 tonnes a day of plastic waste still remains uncollected.
The new recycling plant, which represents an investment of INR 90 million provided by the Huhtamaki Foundation, will process post-consumer waste to create resin from which refined compounds can be produced to make household products for consumers in India.
“The Huhtamaki Foundation has been set up to work towards the conservation of the environment in India,” said Sunil Bhagwat, trustee of Huhtamaki Foundation. “It actively advocates for alternate sustainable plastic packaging structures, solutions and ease of recyclability.”
The recycling plant – which is the first of a kind – uses advanced technology to enable the efficient sorting of post-consumer waste, hot washing to remove any contamination, extrusion with extra filtration and deodorisation. This ensures the recycled material can then be used for domestic appliances.
The Huhtamaki Foundation worked with the local community and authority in Maharashtra, NGOs, social enterprises, and educational institutes – including Swachh, Stri Mukti Sanghtana, CIPET and ICT – to develop this sustainable plastic waste management system. The plant, which will be fully operational from May 2, 2022, has been constructed in accordance with the Green Building Certification of the Confederation of Indian Industry. It is a zero-discharge plant as per the latest standard of the Pollution Control Board, equipped with a Mechanical Vapour Recompression system for treatment of the effluent and a rainwater harvesting system. Moreover, the road to the plant is made of bitumen mixed with plastic waste, the streetlights around the plant have been replaced by a high mast lighting system to optimise electrical utilities and cables, and LED lights have been installed on the premises to save power. Furthermore, over 150 trees have been planted around the plant which are watered and maintained using water sprinklers and drip-irrigation technology.
“Setting up the recycling plant is the first step that the Huhtamaki Foundation has taken in the direction of driving circularity. Over the next few years, we will strive to set up similar facilities in major geographies in India. We are constantly evaluating newer recycling technologies that could be deployed,” added Bhagwat.