Dow India launches Rethink+

Digital waste management program to recycle plastic waste

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Dow India
The plastics take-back program enables consumers to recycle plastics conveniently and receive attractive incentives. Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Dow India announced the launch of its first digital waste management platform Rethink+. This is a plastics take-back program that aims to prevent post-consumer plastic waste from going to landfills by digitally connecting waste generators, waste aggregators, waste processors, and recyclers. This new initiative collaborates with Hyderabad-based Recykal, a technology company providing cloud-based solutions for the waste management and recycling industry, and a waste management non-governmental organization (NGO) partner Keshav Sita Memorial Foundation Trust.

Through a mobile app, participants in the Rethink+ program list their recyclables and either schedule a collection or drop off their items at designated collection centers, earning reward points for online vouchers for each completed transaction. The plastic waste collected through the take-back program, Rethink+, is streamlined to different recycling processes such as upcycling and pyrolysis. This is in line with the material science company’s new sustainability targets to “Stop the Waste” by enabling one million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused, or recycled through its direct actions and partnerships.

Rethink+ was piloted in Pune, a city in the state of Maharashtra, earlier this year. The pilot program proved to be a resounding success, with 810 metric tons of plastic waste collected in five months. Rethink+ will continue to facilitate plastic waste collection in Pune while expanding the program to multiple cities across India.

“The results of the pilot program have been outstanding, but we are just getting started. We are thrilled to be able to extend Rethink+ to more cities in India and encourage the public to recycle more through increased awareness, education and dedicated infrastructure,” said Bambang Candra, Asia Pacific commercial vice president of Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics.

“With Recykal’s technology and expertise in local waste management, and the support of Keshav Sita Memorial Foundation Trust, we are committed to bringing more consumers and partners onboard to advance a circular economy for plastics in India and Asia Pacific.”

A circular recycling program from collection to solution

Infrastructure for collecting, segregation, and recycling post-consumer plastic waste received through this program was built to ensure that the collected materials are channeled to authorized recyclers, road contractors, and waste-to-fuel (pyrolysis) facilities. The waste will then be used as a resource; for example, to implement plastics inroads.

Together with partners in the ecosystem such as recyclers, pyrolysis operators, and road contractors, Rethink+ demonstrates how brand owners can meet the Indian government’s extended producer responsibility (EPR) requirement transparently by providing complete traceability of plastic waste.

“We are excited to be working with Dow India, a leader in plastics technology, to provide a platform for individuals, brand owners, manufacturers, waste collectors and recyclers to collectively manage plastic waste by utilizing their strengths in the recycling journey,” said Abhay Deshpande, founder, Recykal. “We all have the same goal, which is to save the environment. With Rethink+, we hope to connect the waste value chain through innovative technology and data solutions and change the way India recycles its plastic waste.”

Conserving the environment through awareness and education

Keshav Sita Memorial Foundation Trust (Keshav Sita Foundation), an NGO based in Pune, has been dedicated to creating awareness about plastic waste’s harmful effects. Highlighting the importance of waste segregation, Keshav Sita Foundation educates individuals by setting up collection points at residences, schools, and retailers as part of the Rethink+ program. Waste collection has continued during the Covid-19, with strict hygiene practices and precaution.

“The Keshav Sita Foundation is no stranger to plastic waste collection, having gone from door to door collecting waste as part of our efforts to educate the community about segregating their waste and explain why this method of ‘divide and conquer’ is sustainable for our environment,” said Medha Tadpatrikar, founder trustee, Keshav Sita Memorial Foundation Trust. “We’re extremely delighted to be working alongside Dow India and Recykal to further demonstrate the significance of recycling by engaging with the residents of Pune from all walks of life.”

UZED app: Enabling consumers to dispose of recyclable plastics waste

Through UZED – a consumer app created by Recykal – consumers can dispose of recyclable plastic waste responsibly in these simple steps:

  • Download the app on the App Store or Google Play
  • Register under the ‘Rethink+ Plastic Takeback Program’
  • List the recyclables on the app / Collect and segregate plastic waste at home
  • Schedule for a doorstep pickup / Drop off materials at the nearest collection center

After that, points will be credited to the user’s account, and these points can be redeemed for attractive incentives such as gift cards.