Srichakra becomes the first Indian recycling company

Receive a positive safety assessment from European food safety authority

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Srichakra Polyplast
Srichakra becomes the first Indian recycling company to receive a positive safety assessment from European Food Safety Authority. Photo Shrichakra polyplast

Srichakra Polyplast (Srichakra), India’s first food-grade quality plastic recycling company announced on 14 March 2022 that its recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) has received a positive safety assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The announcement comes as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is set to approve the use of rPET for food packaging, reducing the need for virgin plastics and paving the way for a circular economy for plastics in India.

EFSA evaluates the safety of substances used in food contact materials (FCM) including active and intelligent materials. The verdict from EFSA is predicated on an in-depth assessment of processes, with a focus on the suitability of the finished polymer product for packaging purposes.

The use of rPET in FCM has been heavily restricted in several Asian regions including India until recently. The move by Indian authorities signals a policy shift that will enable bottle-to-bottle recycling and will help build local circular supply chains.

With the aim of reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic waste, the India Plastics Pact was launched in September 2021 to bring together businesses, governments and NGOs and accelerate the transformation of the plastics value chain. Srichakra’s certification is a part of this ongoing movement, showcasing the company’s commitment to turn plastic waste from a scourge into a valuable resource. Srichakra’s EFSA approval comes just months after the company announced an investment of more than US$10 million (approximately Rs 76.45 crore) into its world-class technology to upgrade and expand recycling capabilities.

Ravindra Venkata, chief executive officer and co-founder of Srichakra, said, As an organization, Srichakra is committed to offering the highest grade of recycled plastic to customers in India and international markets such as Europe and the United States. We are thrilled to receive positive EFSA’s positive scientific opinion which is considered as a global benchmark. We are well on our path to being the first facility in India to offer premium food-grade rPET to domestic and global markets. Moreover, FSSAI’s release of guidelines for acceptance of rPET for food applications in India is an exciting development and we are looking forward to contributing to building circular supply chains in India.”

Rob Kaplan, chief executive officer and founder of Circulate Capital which invested in Srichakra in December 2020, commented, This is a tremendous achievement for Srichakra that underscores its leadership in accelerating the circular economy for plastics in India. Thanks to its technology-driven approach, the company is setting new benchmarks in the recycling and waste management industry nationwide. As a strategic investor in Srichakra through the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund, we are excited to support their growth journey.”

The Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) is the world’s first investment fund dedicated to scaling organizations and SMEs transforming the waste management and recycling industry across South and Southeast Asia. The Fund was created in partnership with leading global corporations, including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Chanel, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC and Mondelez International. Srichakra is currently in conversations with multiple global fast-moving consumer goods companies regarding offtake agreements and expects to further increase capacity across its operations.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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