Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director of UFlex a global packaging company quoted on the Indian stock exchanges recently shared his insights for building circularity in multi-layered plastics packaging at the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) board meeting. The meeting was held on 30 November 2022 at the New York Stock Exchange in the United States. UFlex is India’s largest multinational in flexible packaging materials and solutions and is credited as the first company in the world to recycle mixed plastic waste in 1995, from its recycling facilities in Noida, in the New Delhi NCR. It has been recognized for its plastic recycling efforts by the Davos Recycling Forum and by the Government of India.
At the AEPW board meeting in New York, Chaturvedi made a strong case for the continued and ubiquitous use of multi-layer mixed plastic that provides a barrier required for packaging a number of essential items including food products, enables high-speed packing, is cost-effective, and is 100% recyclable.
Chaturvedi’s presentation to the AEPW Board included a virtual walkthrough of the UFlex recycling facilities at Noida, Poland, and Mexico to recycle and upcycle post-consumer multi-layer mixed plastic waste into value-added household and industrial plastic products such as dust bins, outdoor furniture, and more. UFlex runs an advanced injection molding facility at its Noida site and this was established to recycle granules and to demonstrate various possibilities to the plastic molding industry. Today, decorative, functional, engineering parts, household and office products, and hundreds of other articles are being manufactured with recycled granules at UFlex’s recycling facilities.
UFlex has recycled more than half a million tons of multi-layer mixed plastic waste (MLP) so far and has spent more than US$ 20 million in the last financial year at its Poland and Mexico sites, ostensibly for this activity.
As an industry leader in building sustainable flexible packaging solutions, UFlex runs a global sustainability initiative called ‘Project Plastic Fix.’ This initiative is aligned with the company’s sustainability approach of 4Rs to tackle the challenge of reducing stock and the flow of plastic waste in the environment. That is to Reduce plastic at source by manufacturing and using films made from PCR (post-consumer recyclates); Recycle via upcycling and down-cycling of MLP and PET containers, covers, other articles, and bottles; Reuse as source substitution via Pyrolysis; and, Return to the planet in the form of biomass, if the plastic waste remains uncollected.
Additionally, Chaturvedi volunteered to provide technical knowledge and related support to any organization or country that would like to replicate and scale its recycling infrastructure to pivot to a circular economy. He urged brand owners and civic bodies across regions and countries to collaborate and strengthen the recycling value chain.