The plastic industry in India & Lucro's role as a recycler
THE PLASTIC INDUSTRY IN INDIA
The Plastic Industry of India currently employs about 4 million people and has over 30,000 processing units about 85% of which are small and medium sized enterprises. It hosts more than 2000 exporters.
- In FY20, plastic and linoleum export from India stood at US$ 7.55 billion.
- During April 2019 to January 2020, plastic export stood at US$ 7.045 billion.
Not only are plastics lightweight but have versatile properties and demand a lower price; making it suitable for a wide range of products. In India, demand for plastic was due to be 20 million tons in 2020 (CIPET). 42% of the total plastic used in consumption in 2018 was for flexible and 17% consumption was for rigid packaging (PlastIndia, 2019). Lucro believes that plastic recycling and manufacturing products made of recycled plastic is the most sustainable option- it is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. 100% of the plastic waste collected in Lucro sorting facility is flexible plastic waste, about 80% of which is post-consumer plastic waste. Not only do we sort, segregate and clean the plastic waste, we close the loop by creating recycled and recyclable plastic products that are used by brands to replace virgin plastic.
THE LUCRO MODEL
Lucro harnesses the possibilities of flexible plastic to produce High quality, innovative and recycled-content products. We source plastic waste from various locations in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and others.
The reason we have been able to maintain good quality in our end products while keeping costs down is our active participation in each stage of the waste value chain.
INDUSTRY CHALLENGES ADDRESSED BY LUCRO
Transparency & Traceability
One of the biggest problems the industry has faced is the absence of transparency in plastic recycling. Lucro has developed a blockchain enabled software for the waste industry that specializes in traceability and tracking of product from collection to final product manufacture.
Through the efficiency brought in by our model, we are able to match the prices of virgin plastic- making recycled plastic the reach of brands that are price sensitive, without comprimising on the quality.
Post-consumer waste is segregated on various criteria before it is washed and recyled, which adds to the quality of the final product. Lucro has the largest waste washing plant in India (over 95% of the water is recycled on a daily basis).
SUPPORTING INITIATIVES WHILE CREATING VALUE
We have been upcycling plastic waste through our unique Plast-e-cycle process. We have created value while supporting some of the most important initiatives:
Swatch Bharat Initiative
About 80% of the waste collected in our supply chain is Post consumer waste. This is the waste that is either picked up by the municipality or by waste pickers from the streets. Unlike most other recyclers we recycle less industrial waste. We focus on low density films, flexible packaging which helps close the loop on plastic waste. Additionally, we are also to be certified on OBP Neutrality which is something no other recycler offers.
It is a known fact that most of the trades in the recycling industry are not registered. We work with people who come from some of the lowest income groups of the economy, most of who do not even have bank accounts. We have ensured that all our transactions are only digital.
Passing higher benefits down the supply chain
The higher value of the waste created through our supply chain allows us to pass some of the benefits to the waste-pickers that bring the waste in.
Not only is our model scalable in every city in India, it is a scalable model that has the potential to give jobs to people from some of the lowest income groups of the country. We have reserved jobs in our sorting and packing facilities for unskilled women. Once jobs are provided- on sight training is provided to upskill the women. Cleaning and processing is done by skilled and unskilled women and men both.
Reduction of Carbon Emission
Recycling & upcycling of plastic helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy consumption. Using recycled materials to make new products reduces the need for virgin materials, thus avoiding the higher GHG emission virgin plastic would produce.
We are creating a Circular Economy, to make the use of plastic Sustainable. We collect, recycle and make final products out of HDPE, LDPE and PP plastic waste- some of the highest used plastics in India. During the manufacturing process, we are able to create higher value out of the plastic waste- the benefits of this higher value are passed down the supply chain to the first mile waste picker. We have been working with some of the biggest brands in the domestic & export markets to help companies close the loop on their plastic waste.