Mumbai: You may well be sitting on a bench made from recycled Tetra Pak cartons in a park, as the rapidly growing recycling industry recycles used Tetra Pak cartons into garden and school benches in addition to other items like boards that look like plywood.
“It takes 6,900 Tetra Pak packs to make one bench,” said Jaideep Gokhale, communications director, South Asia markets, Tetra Pak. The company for instance, has tied up with Sahakari Bhandar, a department store in Mumbai for recycling Tetra Pak cartons and they have made 100 benches so far and distributed them to deserving schools.
“We dispose of anything that has value,” says Gokhale adding “The packaging industry has grown conscious of recycling and we try to create an ecosystem. We identify collectors and recyclers who will convert these wastes to paper, PET bottles, etc.”
Last year, around 5.3 billion Tetra Pak cartons were consumed and sold in India. “We estimate conservatively that up to 30 per cent of Tetra Pak cartons would be getting collected, mixed with other waste paper and getting recycled in some form or another,” he said.
As a business proposition, recycling can be profitable when the tonnage increases and awareness of the benefits of recycling picks up. “We bring the two stakeholders, namely the rag pickers or collectors and the recyclers together and show waste pickers how by collecting used cartons they can supplement their earnings and parallely we also work to safeguard their health,” he said.
Deluxe Recycling and Khatema Fibres are two such recognised recyclers who have partnered with Tetra Pak in its efforts over the past two years. Together they recycle around 5,000 tonnes.
Jignesh Shah, MD, Deluxe Recycling who started multilayer package recycling of plastics, paper, aluminium toothpaste tubes, chip packets, etc. said, “Our clipboards, for instance, can be direct replacements for wood panels. We produce 8,000 tonnes per annum and 80 per cent goes into autorickshaws. In fact 80 per cent of the autos use our product,” he said.