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Godrej & Boyce to recycle 25,000 MT of plastic over the next 8 years

Godrej & Boyce to recycle 25,000 MT of plastic over the next 8 years

Tejashree Joshi, Head, Environmental Sustainability, Godrej & Boyce, in conversation with Business Today, talks about the company’s sustainability plans going forward.

Tejashree Joshi, Head, Environmental Sustainability, Godrej & Boyce Tejashree Joshi, Head, Environmental Sustainability, Godrej & Boyce

One of the very few plastic negative companies in India, Godrej & Boyce has been recycling plastic equivalent to the packaging quantity used in its sale of products since 2018. Working towards offsetting the equivalent amount in the types of packaging plastics put in the market, through its various partners, the company has already recycled 10,000 tons of plastic through its EPR programs. Tejashree Joshi, Head, Environmental Sustainability, Godrej & Boyce, in conversation with Business Today, talks about the company’s plans going forward.

BT: What are the initiatives undertaken by Godrej & Boyce to reduce single-use plastic in India?

TJ: India generates 9.46 MT of plastic waste annually, of which 40 per cent is not collected. About half of all plastics produced in the country are used in packaging and most of this is single-use in nature. Single-use plastics find their way into various ecosystems and fuel their degradation. They not only pose a major threat to terrestrial and marine fauna that ingest these plastics, but also to people as they find their way into the food chain. Therefore, it is urgent to remove plastics from the environment. Godrej & Boyce has proactively initiated various steps to address this issue. None of the listed single-use plastic items are manufactured by G&B. Further all the designated single-use plastic items have been eliminated from use since 2018.

We are one of the first organisations in India to become plastic negative. Since 2018, we have been recycling plastic equivalent to the packaging quantity used in the sale of products. We recycled 146% in 2019-20 and 201% in FY 2020-21. In terms of quantity, we recycled 3264 tons of packaging plastic waste as against 1616 tons of consumption in 2021. Moving forward, we plan to offset the equivalent amount in the types of packaging plastics put in the market, through its various partners.

BT: What amount of single-use plastic have you eliminated from your operations including your supply chain till date?

TJ: Under Extended Producer Responsibility, we have recycled more than double of what we consumed in the operations. Over the last 4 years, we have recycled about 10,000 tons of plastic through its EPR programs. G&B’s EPR program has scaled up in terms of its impact from 4 states to 31 states in just four years of implementation, which has also facilitated scientific recycle of different types of plastics including hard to recycle types in proportion with the quantities released due to its sale of products across the geographies it does business. This performance of G&B for the holistic approach and success of its Plastic EPR program, CII under its waste to worth initiative in 2021 announced us as winners in the 3R (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle) Awards - Excellence in Managing Plastics and Packaging items/ wastes by EPR Strategies; Sub-category – PIBOs

BT: What are the future plans for the same.

TJ: At Godrej & Boyce, we follow a 5R process (Redesign-Reduce- Reuse-Recycle – Recovery) is followed as against a 3 R process which only follows the Reduce -Reuse- Recycle approach. This process allows us to promote a circular economy for plastics, where it is valued as a commodity is valued and does not pollute. Through our association with India Plastics Pact as a founding member, we have reinforced our commitment and set ambitious targets to promote a circular economy for plastics. The India Plastics Pact is a joint initiative between CII and WWF India and bring a perspective that envisions 'a world where plastic is valued and does not pollute the environment.' The targets under the India Plastics Pact are to define a list of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging and items and take measures to address them through redesign and innovation, 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable, 50 per cent of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled and 25% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

BT: What are the recycling plans initiated by the company?

TJ: By 2030, we plan on systematically phasing out the use of thermocol and introducing recycled content up to 30 per cent in its plastic product packaging and are investing in R&D toward the same. We have also decided to ensure that all our packaging plastic will be 100 per cent recyclable. Having successfully recycled over 10,000 tons of plastic beyond fence in just last 4 years, as a progressive and responsible business we plan to scale up this program to cover both pre-consumer and post-consumer plastic waste generated within and beyond the fence and estimate to further recycle about 25000 MT of plastic over the next eight years.  

G&B has never been and will continue to not import any of the restricted plastic items for its products and also include the complete volume of plastic waste generated due to the imports of its components or products under its comprehensive EPR plan.