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CSR Leaders: Byas Anand from Dabur India Ltd opens up on their plastic waste management initiative

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Dabur India Limited was recently awarded the Certificate of Appreciation by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for their efforts towards managing plastic waste in the national capital as part of the company’s Extended Producer Responsibility. The leading FMCG Company has been working with Waste Management Agencies in Delhi to collect, recycle and process post-consumer plastic waste hence preventing the same from entering the landfills.
In an exclusive interaction with The CSR Journal, Mr Byas Anand, Head-Corporate Communications & CSR, Dabur India Ltd shares his excitement over receiving the honour and talks about how they have been working to maintain their status of a ‘100 percent plastic waste neutral company’. Following are excerpts from the conversation.

1.Dabur India was recently awarded with a Certificate of Appreciation by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for plastic waste management initiative. How does it feel?

We are humbled to receive this recognition from the MCD. In fact, this recognition is a validation of our efforts towards reducing post-consumer plastic waste in our cities and preventing them from reaching landfills and oceans. This award will encourage and motivate us to do more for the greater good of the society.

2.Please tell us about the plastic waste management initiative for which you have been felicitated.

We are working on various fronts now, both in terms of processing and recycling post-consumer plastic waste on the one hand, while reducing plastic consumption within our operations on the other hand.
We are now targeting to become a Plastic Waste Positive enterprise by collecting, processing and recycling more plastic waste from our cities than we produce as our product packaging.
Our waste collection partners pick up all types of plastic waste, from PET and HDPE bottles, PP caps and labels to multi-layered plastics and beverage cartons, thereby diverting them to recycling/processing units and preventing them from reaching oceans and landfills.
Residents taking part in Plastic Waste Collection drive – My 10 Kg Plastic
We also have rolled out initiatives that promote awareness about the importance of segregation at source and recycling, besides establishing systems to ensure effective practice. We have joined forces with local municipalities to train waste workers and ragpickers in these concepts and to provide an efficient collection system that covers virtually all segments: Households, Offices, Schools, Hospitals and Commercial Establishments.
Proper segregation, we believe, drastically reduces the amount of waste going to landfill sites with the dry waste collected providing competitive raw material to several industries like glass, paper and plastic. Our interventions have also resulted in higher earnings for ragpickers and waste workers. Dabur is today implementing a series of waste management projects tailored to local situations, which includes promoting home composting and involving women’s Self-Help Groups.
Moving forward on its commitment towards becoming a Plastic Waste Positive Company, Dabur has launched a unique Plastic Waste Collection drive – My 10 Kg Plastic. Under this initiative, Dabur, along with Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA), have been running a series of programmes involving Government agencies, community members, residential societies, schools and offices to build awareness about segregation and safe disposal of plastic waste.
Students depositing plastic waste

3.How many metric tonnes of plastic waste did you recycle in the year 2022?

The year 2021-22 saw Dabur emerge as the first Indian FMCG company to become Plastic Waste Neutral by collecting, processing and recycling nearly 27,000 MT of post-consumer plastic waste from all over India. This fiscal, we have set ourselves the target of collecting, processing and recycling nearly 35,000 MT of post-consumer plastic waste. Till December-end, we have already crossed the 30,000 mark and are well on course to achieve our target of collecting, processing and recycling 35,000 MT by March 2023.

4.Your plastic waste management initiative is currently operational in which parts of India?

Our plastic waste management initiatives are operational across India.

 

Segregating plastic waste collected from residents

5.In February 2022, Dabur India had announced itself as a ‘100 percent plastic waste neutral company’. What practices are followed to maintain this?

In terms of Extended Producer’s Responsibility, we have taken a leadership position due to our efforts in plastic waste management. Dabur emerged as the first FMCG company in the country to become 100% Plastic Neutral. This means that we collect, process and recycle the same amount of plastic waste that we sell in its product packaging in a year, thereby complying with the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. We have collected, processed and recycled around 27,000 MT of post-consumer plastic waste from all over India in the fiscal 2021-22.
We have been working with government approved waste collection agencies in this exercise. The collected waste are segregated into recyclables and non-recyclables. While the recyclable waste is sent to approved recycling agencies, the non-recyclable waste is sent to government-approved waste-to-energy plants or cement kilns to be used as fuel to replace fossil fuels in their boilers.
Dabur has also been organising door-to-door awareness programmes for citizens in collaboration with various stakeholders like Urban Local Bodies, Civil Society and the informal sector of waste collectors. The initiatives focus on educating citizens on segregating waste at source into dry and wet streams and ensuring that value is derived from these resources and, in the process, support sustainable livelihood for waste collectors and ragpickers. Our initiatives have helped us reach out to more than 4.5 million households.
Several other programmes are also run to promote behaviour change within the community. With the objective to bring social behavioral change among the citizen of India with respect to collection, segregation and storing of plastic waste, Dabur India Ltd and Indian Pollution Control Association (IPCA) conceived and initiated the ‘My 10Kg Plastic’ campaign in 2019. The campaign’s holistic aim is to educate everyone on waste segregation and implement decentralization of solid waste management.
Under this campaign, general citizen, people from RWAs, Schools, colleges, Corporate and Institutes participate to segregate their plastic and store it separately. We have devised an efficient schedule for vehicle to collect the plastic waste stored by citizens and send the collected waste for respective recycling/co-processing units. The participating citizens, schools, colleges, societies and other organizations are provided with appreciation certificates and products made from recycled plastic waste.
Plastic waste pick-up truck

6.How can we be more responsible as citizens regarding reduced use of plastic in day to day life and segregation of plastic waste at source?

At Dabur, we feel that sustainability is about balancing Economic Growth, Environmental Stewardship and Social Responsibility. Our objective is to maximize returns for our investors and stakeholders while minimizing the environmental impact of our operations and helping the communities where we operate.
“Dehi Me DadamiTe” (As you give me, I give you in return.) This saying enshrined in our ancient Yajur Veda is the inspiration behind Dabur’s unfailing commitment to ecological conservation and regeneration.
Dabur is committed to waste management, recycling, and circular economy strategies that enable the recovery and productive re-use of waste streams. Promoting a circular economy not just helps create opportunities for reducing waste from our cities, but also goes a long way in stimulating innovation and creating employment opportunities.
Waste management is a major challenge that can be solved through innovative thinking and concerted efforts. We continuously seek to not just prevent and minimise generation of waste at our production units, but also work towards waste recycling and use of alternative methods of waste treatment to prevent them from reaching landfill sites. We fully embrace the concept of waste minimisation across the supply chain by following the 3R principle of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

 

Ahana Bhattacharya can be reached at ahana@thecsrjournal.in