Packem Umasree
Team Packem Umasree with government officials from Brazil at the inauguration ceremony

Packem Umasree, a joint venture between Brazil’s Packem S.A. and Indian company Umasree Texplast, has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the world’s first company to manufacture 100% sustainable flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC) or jumbo bags using recycled PET (used PET bottles). On 16 April, the company inaugurated its first plant in India near Ahmedabad. The company already has a production unit in Brazil.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by guests from both India and Brazil. The guest of honor was the governor of Parana, Brazil, Carlos Roberto Massa Junior. Eduardo Dos Santos Neto – CEO of Packem S.A, Brazil, and Marcos Spitzner – CFO of Packem S.A, Brazil in their welcome address said the project is a milestone in the development of sustainable packaging.

Packem Umasree
Packem Umasree plant near Ahmedabad

Punit Gopalka, CEO and managing director, Packem Umasree, had told Packaging South Asia early last year that the plant would be in operation in the first quarter of 2024. The execution, however, took a little longer than planned.

As for the timeline, it took a little longer than planned. Despite having aggressive plans and all the professional vendors working on the project in sync, we cannot control mother nature with unexpected rainfall last year,” Gopalka said.

Packem and Umasree announced their joint venture last year, with Umasree holding a 49% equity stake and Packem holding a 51% stake. The India plant will mark the first production facility near Ahmedabad to manufacture FIBC/jumbo bags using 100% rPET (used PET bottles) through the innovative concept of bottle-to-bag recycling.

A multi-hundred crore project

Once the Ahmedabad plant is fully commissioned in another 45 to 60 days, Packem Umashree would have invested more than Rs 300 crore in the project. The plant will benefit the local population as it will employ nearly 700 people. The raw material will be sourced from India and Packem Umasree has tied up with vendors to facilitate seamless supply of used PET bottles.

The overall investment that is the land, building, machinery, etc., in the project is more than Rs 300 crore. Packem Umasree made strategic investments in Starlinger production equipment during K 2022 to facilitate the production of FIBCs from rPET at the new plant. Initially, the output will be 600 metric tons per month and we expect that to double in the coming years as there is enough space in the plant to accommodate new machinery when required,” Gopalka said.

Packem Umasree
Jumbo bags made by Packem Umasree

FIBCs are used for the bulk transportation and storage of dry products such as food, milk powder, chocolate power, agro products, chemicals, PVC, polymers and building materials, among others. The output will mostly be exported to markets such as North America, Europe, UAE, Japan, Australia, etc.

Gopalka highlighted the multiple advantages of manufacturing FIBCs from rPET, including its recyclability and suitability for food items, making it an environmentally friendly and sustainable solution. The company received positive feedback for its FIBCs at Interpack 2023.

Successful Interpack 2023

The sustainable FIBCs made from rPET were showcased by Packem Umasree at Interpack 2023. Packem was also honored with the prestigious WPO (World Packaging Organization) international award at Interpack last year for its ‘1st fertilizer bag-to-bag made from 100% rPET’. The WPO award is regarded as the largest and most significant international recognition in the packaging industry.

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