At a time when states including Maharashtra are enforcing plastic ban, its largest raw material maker Reliance Industries claims that they recycled 220 crore post-consumer PET bottles into fibres last year and looks to ramp it up further. Recycling is being carried out at RIL's Barabanki, Hoshiarpur and Nagothane plants, the company said.
"The used PET bottles are used as a raw material for manufacturing recycled polyester fibre. The fibre generated through this process is branded as Recron GreenGold and RIL through its selected downstream mills manufactures R|Elan GreenGold fabrics, the greenest fabric in the world," the officials claimed.
RIL is the country's largest producer of polymer, which is the main raw material for making plastic products.
The collection of used PET bottles is carried out through around 150 collection centres across the country. "RIL's PET bottle collection initiative directly and indirectly provides employment to around 3 lakh economically weak people that includes a majority of rag pickers," say officials. RIL has tied up with various leading apparel brands including Wrangler, Myntra and Proline to co-brand apparels that are made from green fabrics. The fibre manufactured is also used for filling pillows and soft toys and to manufacture carpets and rugs.
The Rs 1.1 lakh crore Indian plastic industry has 30,000 companies working in the business. Of the 13 million tonne (MT) plastic consumed every year in the country, about 9 MT is being generated as waste and its 60 per cent is being recycled, according to the authorities. Normally all beverages bottles are thrown as waste, which usually finds its way to landfills or chokes the drainage systems in the cities. Himachal Pradesh banned plastic bags in 2003 and it was followed by Delhi, Sikkim, Rajasthan and Goa, before the ban in Maharashtra a couple of weeks back.
Earlier, Business Standard reported that RIL was creating a platform for recycling, building a corpus and setting up a full-fledged sustainability team. RIL, which implements the concept of circular economy in its plastic business, has also put in place an effluent treatment plant (ETP) to deal with the pollutants generated during the process of washing, the company said.