Leverages technology for holistic plastic material recovery framework across more than 33,000 households in Mumbai
Establishes three material recovery facilities (Swachhta Kendras) to create value out of waste
In response to the urgent need for plastic waste management, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) positively impacted more than 33,000 households across three wards of Mumbai – K-East (Andheri East), H-West (Bandra West) and R-North (Dahisar) – through a plastic waste material-recovery model. The project will be scaled to include more households in the coming years.
The technology-powered model will enhance segregation, collection, and recycling of all kinds of plastic waste along the value chain, creating resource efficiency and supporting a circular economy. This has been done with the support of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Consumer Citizen groups such as the Swachh Parle Abhiyan who played an important role in driving awareness around collection and segregation of plastic waste at source.
The programme has helped collect and segregate dry waste with nearly 2500 tonnes of plastic waste being collected so far. Over 500 Safai Sathis (waste collectors) have been on-boarded as part of this initiative.
To demonstrate the success of the model, HUL hosted a virtual roundtable on driving end-to-end plastic waste management in Mumbai, in partnership with UNDP and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). The roundtable showcased HUL-UNDP’s partnership to establish the model where, along with collection and recovery of dry waste, there was a focus on driving behaviour change to promote waste segregation at source. Through this project, HUL and UNDP are also ensuring the wellbeing and financial inclusion of Safai Sathis. The project is aligned with the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission, Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, and Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018.
HUL Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Sanjiv Mehta said, “Our vision is one where key stakeholders work together to ensure that plastic stays in the economy and out of the environment. As a responsible company, we are committed to playing our part. The HUL-UNDP-MCGM end-to-end plastic waste management pilot is a right step towards keeping plastic waste out of the environment, and a similar model can be widely rolled out across the country.”
Maharashtra Pollution Control Board Chairman, Mr Sudhir Shrivastava, in his special address at the event said, “To effectively address the world’s plastic waste problems, there needs to be a constancy of purpose and effort. We also need structures that bring key stakeholders together, and this is where the role played by HUL and UNDP comes to the fore. We would like to acknowledge HUL and UNDP for their collaboration in managing this issue through the circular recovery and management model they have created. Today, we see a streamlined system and therefore, more productive and positive use of plastic waste through the model's implementation. This model also highlights and empowers the Safai Sathis who form the backbone of our waste management efforts.”
Ms Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP said, “Circular economy is all about co-creation, partnerships, bringing the technology, innovations and knowledge together to make a difference. This partnership is one such unique attempt to bring all the stakeholders in the waste value chain together for demonstrating a sustainable waste management model in the country. The programme not only aims to transform the way we manage waste but also change lives, together with Urban Local Bodies, Private Partners, Civil Societies, Citizens and most importantly the Safai Sathis.”
The participants were also taken through a virtual tour of the first-of-its-kind material recovery facility called Swachhta Kendra, set up at Andheri East in Mumbai, in partnership with MCGM and UNDP, showcasing the end-to-end process followed at the centre for effective dry waste management. The project is being implemented in three wards in Mumbai – K-East (Andheri East), H-West (Bandra West) and R-North (Dahisar).
The other speakers present on the occasion were Mr Prabhjot Sodhi, Head, Circular Economy, UNDP, Mr Pankaj Gonge, Assistant Engineer, K-East Ward, MCGM, Mr. Satish Kolvankar, Swach Parle Abhiyaan, and implementing partners from Aasra and RaddiConnect.
As a responsible corporate, HUL has taken ambitious targets to manage plastic waste effectively. Globally, Unilever has committed that by 2025:
The company will halve the amount of virgin plastic used in its packaging and an absolute reduction of more than 100,000 tonnes in plastic use
Help collect and process more plastic packaging than they sell
Ensure that 100% of their plastic packaging is designed to be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable
Increase the use of post-consumer recycled plastic material in packaging to at least 25%
HUL has made good progress in line with the commitments it has set out for itself. Since 2018, in India, HUL has disposed of more than one lakh tonnes of post-consumer use plastic waste in an environment-friendly way. This was done with the help of collection and disposal partners in nearly 100 towns across India.
HUL is also a founding partner of the India 2022 coalition catalysed by Xynteo to support the implementation of the Clean India mission. The work on waste management under the ‘Waste to Value impact track’ led by HUL, is focused on testing and scaling sustainable models of circularity for plastic waste – from increasing awareness to improving segregation at source and establishing robust collection infrastructure at the local level.