In a move that is expected to significantly impact the way edible oils are packed in India, FMCG major Adani Wilmar has decided to gradually shift away from non-recyclable packaging material to fully recyclable packaging from the first quarter of FY 2018-19. The company will source plastic films comprising a formulation of polyethylene (PE) resins to create a new, sustainable, all PE laminatem solution from its dedicated supplier Vishakha Polyfab. Currently, Adani Wilmar sources nearly 300 MT of plastic films for packaging per month and one kilogram of film produces approximate 130 pouches. In the new film structure, a compatibilizer has been added to facilitate the recycling of the film; hence the film can be reused.
“The idea was to have an environment-friendly film which could be recyclable and support sustainability goals. There would approximately 3-4% increase in the cost of the film,” says Angshu Mallick, chief operating officer, Adani Wilmar. “The new edible oil packaging will be rolled out for 1 liter pouches for the first time ever in the industry, for our Fortune brand of edible oils initially and will successively cover our other sub-brands.”
The cost of production will rise due to usage of chemicals that allow the packaging to be recycled. However, this will not be passed on to consumers and will be absorbed completely by Adani Wilmar. The company has worked out a 9-month exclusivity contract with VPPL, during which time it will hold sole rights of using and marketing the innovative packaging in the entire edible oil industry.
The formulation of PE resin has already been certified by the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET), an agency under the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Government of India. The certificate of endorsement states that the co-extruded multilayer film can be recycled. The new recyclable pouch has also passed the company’s internal laboratory tests covering a DRAT Impact test, a drop test and an ink adhesion test.
Apart from its flagship brand Fortune, Adani Wilmar has other brands such as Aadhar, Kings, Fryola, Raag Gold and Alpha in its portfolio.
With Adani Wilmar’s initiative, nearly 47 crore pouch/liters of oil will be packed in the coming year. This will not only have a positive impact on the environment, but also the potential to generate greater employment and better realization for collection agents such as ragpickers.
In the present scenario, barrier film scrap is sold at very low realization or is sent to landfill as the structure of the film is not recyclable due to the presence of nylon. After shifting to the new structure, the film will be recyclable and can be reused extending the life of the polymer. The recycled material has the properties equivalent to the original material. The film will thus help in reducing the landfill as it can be sold at a better price.
Adani Wilmar has decided to incorporate the recycle logo on the front of the pouch, which would indicate that the pouch is recyclable to spread awareness among consumers using it. The company also plans to conduct awareness seminars in alignment with NGOs working on waste management and with waste collecting agents