Plastic pollution has proved to be a major nuisance for every country across the world. Not only is it responsible for the pollution but also for negatively affecting the health of people because of the release of micro-plastics in the atmosphere and also the biodiversity. Taking this into account, the new solid waste management rules have made it the responsibility of a producer of the waste to make sure it doesn’t end up in landfills.
Taking the law in its stride is a leading FMCG company, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB) which has helped collect more than 30,000 kg of different kinds of plastics from 9 locations across 7 cities of the country in the first phase of ‘Plastic Lao, Thaila Pao’, a multi-city social awareness campaign, since its launch in October 2019. Working in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and various other NGOs and local municipalities, the company is now planning to double the number of cities for the campaign during 2020.
The second phase of the campaign will soon be kicked off in Goa, Jodhpur, Aurangabad, Mumbai and Chennai. The cities covered in the first phase included New Delhi, Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
Designed as a barter system, the campaign, which is in sync with Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission, encourages everyone to bring all kinds of plastic waste products to the mini material recovery stalls set up in different locations and get recycled cloth bags as per the exchange rates defined. As such, people are given one cloth bag for each set of 10 PET bottles, 10 pieces of mixed plastic products, 20 pieces of multi-layered plastics, (of at least 100 gms and above), 20 small mixed plastic products or 15 pieces of plastic bags (of the normal size of 1-2 kg carrying capacity). The campaign also drives home the point that plastics have inherent value and they need to be recovered and recycled.
The ‘Plastic Lao, Thaila Pao’ campaign is part of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages ongoing effort to create an end-to-end recycling ecosystem starting at the point of waste generation and connecting to the recyclers thereby creating a Circular Economy on plastics. In cities, where Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages does not have its own swachhata kendras, it partners with NGOs who not only collect these post-use consumer plastics including the multi-layered plastic wastes but also recycle them into useful products in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Reflecting on the larger objective of the ‘Plastic Lao, Thaila Pao’ campaign, Mr Umesh Malik, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communication, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, said, “All we are trying to communicate is that plastics have inherent value and can be recycled. Our objective is to bring about the behavioural change needed to responsibly segregate waste at source as the first step for recycling of plastic waste. The initial response has been quite encouraging and we are hopeful that the increasing awareness will eventually bring about effective and scientific management of plastic waste in our country.”
The company in partnership with UNDP and several NGOs and government agencies aims to gradually establish swachhata kendras under its plastic waste collection programmes from the current level of 25 to the top 50 cities of the country. So far, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages has collected and recycled more than 30,000 metric tonnes of plastic wastes through its swachhta kendras (material recovery facilities) in 25 cities. The company aims to collect and recycle more than 100,000 MT of plastic waste as it expands the campaign to 50 cities thus positively impacting the lives of more than 35,000 safai karmacharis.
In an effort to raise awareness against the use of single-use plastic and encourage the use of sustainable materials, the organisation had distributed 22,000 cotton bags at the experience centres which were set up in 4 of its factories (Ameenpur, Siliguri, Chittoor and Goblej) earlier this year. Aligning itself with the Government of India’s initiative to reduce single-use plastic, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages became among the first few corporates in the country to take up an initiative of this nature at such a massive scale.