A study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in India showed that the country generates around 25,940 tons of plastic waste per day and approximately 9.46 million tons of plastic waste per year.
To tackle the issue of plastic pollution, the India government has embarked on a series of initiatives for the use of plastics and effective waste management in the country. Some of the key initiatives that were announced included imposing a ban on most single-use plastics starting in 2022.
However, plastics will still be an indispensable part of our everyday life and are used in a multitude of applications that add convenience, comfort, health and safety to societies.
To drive a circular plastics economy, taking a collaborative approach with value chain partners, customers and society is a fundamental step towards sustainability. A key theme in the circular economy is to pursue an effective after-use plastics economy and drastically reduce the number of plastics leaking into the environment.
Collaboration for sustainable packaging solutions
Flexible packaging is typically constructed using a combination of different plastics within the same structure, making it challenging to recycle through conventional methods. This results in downcycling, where the recycled materials is of lower quality and functionality, limiting the opportunity for better use and application in subsequent cycles.
Borouge, a leading petrochemicals company that provides innovative, value creating plastic solutions, has been working with its partners to develop and commercialise mono-material solutions suitable for end applications for everyday use. Mono-materials have been identified as one of the key solutions towards generating sustainable flexible packaging. These materials eliminate the need for material separation and risks of tainting a recycling stream, achieving easier recyclability.
Borouge has a long-standing partnership with Vishal Containers Ltd, an established global packaging manufacturer and supplier based in Gujarat, India. Vishal Containers recognised the growing demand for sustainable flexible packaging, and the company has since invested in top infrastructure and technology to support the pursuit of a circular economy.
With a common vision to provide innovative sustainable packaging, Borouge and Vishal Containers have been working closely to develop mono-material solutions for flexible packaging needs.
For example, a full polyethylene (PE) solution was developed for edible oil packaging, with Borouge’s comprehensive range of differentiated grades formulated to replace the conventional polyethylene terephthalate (PET) / PE laminate.
Using a combination of Borouge solutions which include Borstar® FB1350, Borstar® FB5600, Anteo™ FK2715 and Anteo™ FK1828, a unique high barrier recyclable packaging solution was developed using Borouge’s unique high-moisture barrier HDPE and Vishal Container’s high oxygen barrier coating. The result was a solution that offered full recyclability capabilities without compromising on the packaging’s performance. The solution provided improved stiffness, higher gloss with low sealing initiation temperature (SIT) and hot tack.
In another example, Borouge and Vishal Containers were able to successfully develop and commercialise a fully recyclable lamination packaging using Borouge’s unique formulation that included Anteo™ FK1820, Anteo™ FK1828, Borstar® FB1520 and Borstar® FB2230, to fulfil the brand owner’s stringent requirements for frozen food packaging. This full PE mono-material solution to replace the incumbent PET in its lamination film also addressed the brand owner’s desire towards designing for recyclability.
The result was a sustainable solution that provided balanced stiffness, low SIT for a broader sealing window and improved low temperature impact properties, without compromising on the frozen food packaging’s aesthetics and performance. The successful commercialisation of this frozen food packaging has spurred further collaboration and development of similar packaging products with the brand owner.
The partnership with Vishal Containers to develop mono-material solutions is one of many collaborations that Borouge has embarked on to spearhead circularity efforts to support the Indian government’s directive to tackle waste management in the country.
Continuous efforts to promote zero waste
In working towards its circularity ambition, Borouge continues to focus on developing innovative solutions that promote designing for recyclability, incorporating recyclates in end applications and driving advocacy efforts on plastics recycling.
Borouge has embarked on several partnerships with recycling companies to offer recyclates in its portfolio. This advances Borouge’s plans to become an end-to-end provider of both virgin and recycled polyolefins, enabling their customers and value chain partners to achieve their own sustainability goals.
Advocacy on plastics use and effective waste management is also key in Borouge’s ongoing efforts. Borouge established a bespoke programme, Polymers on The Move, to educate the younger generation on the responsible use and recycling of plastics and the importance of a circular economy. The programme has been conducted in several states in India since 2020, with plans to expand to more regions in the India Subcontinent.
Achieving a zero plastics waste environment is crucial for a better tomorrow. At Borouge, we recognise that the circularity ambition is a significant and crucial goal, and requires strong and concerted actions by the industry, governments, consumers and society to safeguard the environment. Borouge will continue to work on innovating and creating sustainable solutions that fulfil consumers’ needs.
Pavankumar Thakor is the Application Development Engineer for the Asia South Packaging team in Borouge since 2013. He is responsible for application development, customer technical support, working closely with value chain partners to design and develop innovative and differentiated solutions for Borouge’s flexible packaging business.
Before joining Borouge in 2013, Pavankumar has worked for more than 20 years in the polymer industry, serving in roles in companies such as a flexible packaging converter and a plastics processing machine manufacturer, focused on delivering innovative plastic solutions.
Sanchita Roy is the Application Marketing Manager for the Asia South Packaging Regional Marketing team in Borouge since January 2021. She is responsible for developing, promoting and commercialising innovative and differentiated solutions in flexible and rigid packaging, and developing strategic partnerships across the value chain for Borouge’s packaging business.
Prior to joining Borouge in 2019, Sanchita worked in different capacities in the petrochemical industry, focused on polyolefin business for packaging applications, in areas of customer development, application development, new product launches, new business development, market research, and research and development, for more than 16 years.