UFlex joins Alliance to End Plastic Waste

UFlex strengthens its global mission of building a circular plastic economy

Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director UFlex Photo UFlex
Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director UFlex Photo UFlex

UFlex, India’s largest flexible packaging company and a leader in polymer sciences, has become a member of Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance), a global non-profit organization with a mission to eliminate plastic waste in the environment. UFlex’s steadfast commitment to tackle the problem of plastic waste and its expertise to derive solutions and technologies that help recover and recycle post-consumer plastic waste and help plastic find a purpose beyond its original use has earned it membership in the Alliance.

Through this affiliation, UFlex aims to contribute to the Alliance and share the sustainability practices that it has followed for years to mitigate plastic waste issues, thus globalizing these practices. The company also expects to learn and implement universally accepted practices. With support from the Alliance, UFlex intends to promote and drive sustainable actions within the regions where it is present as a packaging company.

Founded in 2019, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has convened a global network of corporations, project partners, and supporters across the plastics value chain. It undertakes joint initiatives with member organizations worldwide to minimize and manage plastic waste in the environment.

Towards this, it adopts a quadrangular approach to take collective action. These include the development of infrastructure for collection and management of plastic waste; innovation and creation of new technologies to advance a circular economy for plastic waste; education and engagement with various stakeholders to mobilize action towards meaningful solutions; and clean-up of areas by working with partners to address plastic waste at source.

Jacob Duer, president, and chief executive officer of the Alliance, said, “As the issue of plastic waste moves up in the global sustainability agenda, our mission to develop, deploy and scale solutions to end plastic waste in the environment is more relevant than ever before. Strengthening participation across the plastics value chain with UFlex will help accelerate our collective efforts. Together, we can work towards helping to create a more sustainable future, and I look forward to a fruitful partnership.”

As an industry leader in building sustainable, flexible packaging solutions, UFlex values conservation of the planet over profits and believes in the 4Rs approach to tackle the challenge of reducing stock and flow of plastic waste in the environment, that is To Reduce plastic at source by manufacturing and using films made from PCR. To Recycle via upcycling and downcycling of MLP (multi-layered plastic) and PET bottles. To Reuse as source substitution via Pyrolysis. And to Return to the planet in the form of biomass if the plastic waste remains uncollected.

The organization has been upholding the utility of plastic in the economy for over three decades when recycling was still an undiscovered concept. UFlex says it was the first company in the world, ahead of others in developed economies, to recycle mixed plastic waste. It earned recognition for this at the Davos Recycling Forum in 1995. It has been recycling its own and partner companies’ industrial plastic waste since then.

Under its global sustainability initiative ‘Project Plastic Fix’, in early 2020, UFlex extended its efforts to include post-consumer plastic waste by setting up lines in its headquarter city Noida. Its plant in Noida recycled and upcycled post-consumer MLP mixed plastic waste and PET bottle waste into PCR grade packaging films (PCR PET & PCR PE) and injection molding equipment. UFlex is scaling up its recycling infrastructure by commissioning similar facilities in Mexico and Poland to repurpose plastic waste from households locally. Moreover, it is developing an enzyme-based biodegradable solution that converts uncollected plastic waste into biomass.

On joining the Alliance, UFlex chairman, and managing director Ashok Chaturvedisaid, Plastic waste crisis is one of the most pressing global concerns of today, and as a socially conscious organization that has sustainability firmly entrenched at its very soul, we are aware that we need to find a solution collectively to enable co-existence of plastic and the human race. The Alliance is the ideal forum for us to bolster our efforts and re-write the overall story of how plastic waste can be repurposed for good.”

At UFlex, we strongly believe that the path to a plastic waste-free environment is possible with a combination of recycling (mechanical & chemical) and biodegradability. Through our association with the Alliance, we look forward to sharing our knowledge with like-minded global leaders while learning from their approaches to build a circular economy forever.”

UFlex is in the process of investing and has invested of late close to US$ 10 million towards various initiatives undertaken at its overseas and Indian plants to repurpose plastic waste. As a Board Member of the Alliance, it remains committed to investments that support the Alliance to define its programs for reducing mismanaged plastic waste and help achieve the common agenda to keep plastic waste out of the environment. Towards this, UFlex will direct its resources, expertise, and investments to deliver innovative sustainable packaging materials that address plastic waste and implement effective waste management and recycling systems.

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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– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.


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