Tetra Pak India, the leading paper-based packaging and processing solutions provider recently organized the 6th edition of its National Recycling Partners Meet in Gurugram, bringing together over 40 of its collection, recycling and NGO partners representing 23 cities and 18 states across India. The group represents the robust recycling ecosystem for paper-based carton packages that Tetra Pak has established over the past 16 years. This annual event brings together all partners to celebrate the milestones reached, exchange ideas and best practices to strengthen the ecosystem, and to identify any bottlenecks that need to be addressed to set the course for the years to come. This is also a platform to recognize partners that have gone above and beyond to help increase collections and recycling.
In 2018, Tetra Pak along with other F&B brands and carton packaging manufacturers came together to form AARC (Action Alliance for Recycling beverage Cartons) to take recycling of used carton to the next level, with support from the member organizations.
At the event, Praveen Aggarwal, CEO – AARC reiterated the F&B industry’s ambition to this end, “Tetra Pak has proactively invested the past 16 years in building a strong ecosystem to ensure collection and recycling of paper-based cartons. This ecosystem includes various stakeholders – from the local government, civil society, waste trade to consumers – who must play an active role to make recycling truly sustainable. At AARC, we are committed to further build upon this strong base and increase collections by at least 20 % and expand the collection footprint from 23 cities today to 35 over the next 2 to 3 years. This will in turn help increase the recycling rate significantly,” he said.
Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC) currently includes 17 member organizations representing juice, dairy, pharma, spirits and other categories as well as paper-based packaging manufacturing companies including Tetra Pak and SIG Combibloc.
“We started our recycling journey 16 years ago, long before it became front and centre of discussions across the country, and we are thankful for the support of all our partners who have helped take carton package recycling to over 50% today. With AARC bringing together resources and experience from across the F&B industry, we are very excited about the new milestones that we can reach together as an industry,” added Ashutosh Manohar, Managing Director – Tetra Pak South Asia.
The keynote address was delivered by Amardeep Raju, Assistant Director – Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, who spoke about the importance of boosting recycling in India. He highlighted the steps taken by the government to promote waste management in the country including the Swachh Bharat Mission. Giving the example of Indore, he highlighted the importance of all the stakeholders in the ecosystem playing their role to make waste management a success and the role that technological interventions such as GPS tracking can help make the system more efficient. He also shared that the government is working on a national EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) framework which will soon be introduced.
In addition to the collection and recycling partners, the event also included a special session by Dr. Suneel Pandey, Senior Fellow- TERI who shared findings from a recently concluded study about used beverage cartons recycling in India which reveals that over 54% cartons sold in India today are recycled.
Monisha Narke, CEO and Founder of RUR Greenlife, spoke about Tetra Pak’s flagship program ‘Go Green with Tetra Pak’ that started in 2010 in Mumbai, and works on raising consumer awareness about recycling of used carton packages. This program inspires consumers to deposit used cartons at over 200 drop off points across the city and help convert them into desks for lesser privileged schools.
Nimisha Jha, from well-known NGO - Saahas, spoke about Alag Karo – a waste management program run by Tetra Pak, in partnership with Giz and Coca-Cola India in Gurugram. This program is in its third year of running and works to promote waste segregation at source across the city.
Jignesh Shah, from Deluxe Recycling spoke about his journey with Tetra Pak and the new recycling technologies being developed by the organization. Based in Maharashtra, Deluxe Recycling converts used cartons into chipboards, which are then used in many applications such as making furniture, seats for Bajaj Auto vehicles, small items such as pen stands, exam pads and more.