India’s Forest Essentials & Reliance partner to recycle plastic waste packaging

Plan to increase recycling to 5 billion PET bottles

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Forest Essentials
Forest Essentials partners with Reliance Industries to recycle plastic waste packaging. Photo - PRnewswire

Cognizant of the need for effective solutions to reduce plastic waste in the context of growing environmental challenges, Indian cosmetics, skincare, and perfume company Forest Essentials has been strengthening its policies towards eco-friendly packaging and organized recycling by partnering with Reliance Industries (RIL). As one of the global leaders in the PET manufacturing space, RIL will recycle waste plastic packaging for Forest Essentials products and convert the plastic into high-quality eco-friendly materials.

Forest Essentials was founded in 2000 after many years of research and development with trained Ayurvedic physicians. A pioneer in the Luxury Ayurvedic segment, the company, deals in four major categories – Facial Care, Body Care, Hair Care, and Wellness.

According to the press release, through this association, Forest Essentials will set up a collection facility in each of their stores across the country, starting with a few cities and slowly expanding to a PAN India presence. Customers will be encouraged to drop empty jars and a bottle of the brand at select stores via an empties collection and reward program. Reliance will then effectively re-purpose the recyclable plastic processing it into secondary applications such as new fibers, bottles, containers, carpets, clothing, industrial strapping, rope, upholstery fabrics, boat sails, automotive parts, fiberfill for winter jackets, sleeping bags, construction materials, and other such items.

Forest Essentials said that it has been making progress on eco-packaging and labeling. The brand has eliminated shrink wrap earlier used to protect bottles in transit, thus reducing plastic usage of Forest Essentials by 70% while air-filled pouches have replaced air wrap bubbles. Furthermore, select products’ packaging has now transitioned into recyclable, reusable PET bottles and glass jars.

Remarking on the partnership, Vipul Shah, chief operating officer, Reliance Industries Petrochemicals Business, said, “Sustainability and circularity concepts are embedded in everything we do at Reliance Industries’ PetChem business. Reliance has been a pioneer in setting up plastic bottle recycling unit in 2002. We currently recycle more than 2 billion PET bottles per annum across India to produce R|Elan GreenGold – one of the greenest fabrics in the world, and we plan to increase recycling capacity to 5 billion bottles.”

“We also encourage entrepreneurs to promote organized recycling and our partnership with Forest Essentials is a step in that direction. With our decade’s long expertise and state-of-the-art, fully integrated plastic recycling facilities in Nagothane, Barabanki and Hoshiarpur, we work closely with vendors spread across India to collect waste PET materials.”

Samrath Bedi, managing director of Forest Essentials, said, “Forest Essentials has always partnered with credible and leading organizations who understand our vision, maintain the integrity of the brand ethos and help us stand out from the crowd. RIL is not only a pioneer of PET recycling in India, but also its contribution in creating awareness about plastic recycling in the country is commendable. RIL has been on the forefront to drive plastic recycling and waste management and we are proud to be associated with them driving the new chapter in our sustainability charter.”

Anupam Kapoor, head of Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Forest Essentials, said, “Over the years we have taken small steps in progressing ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable practices across all aspects of our value chain – right from our suppliers, to our manufacturing, packing and distribution. This partnership with Reliance Industries Ltd. takes us further towards achieving our goal of a closed loop supply chain by implementing a robust, scalable PET waste recycling system.”

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.

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