UFlex, India’s largest flexible packaging company and a global leader in polymer sciences, has become a member of Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance), a global non-profit organisation with a mission to eliminate plastic waste in the environment. UFlex’s steadfast commitment to tackle the problem of plastic waste and its expertise to derive solutions and technologies that help recover and recycle post-consumer plastic waste and help plastic find a purpose beyond its original use has earned it a membership berth with the Alliance. Through this affiliation, UFlex aims to contribute to and guide the Alliance and its members about sustainability practices that it has been following for years to mitigate plastic waste issues, thus globalising these practises as also to learn and implement universally accepted practices. With support from the Alliance, UFlex also intends to promote and drive sustainable actions within the regions where it is present as a packaging company.

Founded in 2019, Alliance today has convened a global network of corporations, project partners, and supporters across the plastics value chain. The Alliance undertakes joint initiatives with member organizations across the world to minimize and manage plastic waste in the environment. Towards this, it adopts a quadrangular approach to take collective actions, which include the development of infrastructure for collection and management of plastic waste, innovation and creation of new technologies to advance a circular economy for plastic waste, education and engagement with various stakeholders to mobilise action towards meaningful solutions and clean-up of areas by working with partners to address plastic waste at source.

Jacob Duer, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance, said: “As the issue of plastic waste moves up in the global sustainability agenda, our mission to develop, deploy and scale solutions to end plastic waste in the environment is more relevant than ever before. Strengthening participation across the plastics value chain with UFlex will help accelerate our collective efforts. Together, we can work towards helping to create a more sustainable future and I look forward to a fruitful partnership.”

As an industry leader in building sustainable flexible packaging solutions, UFlex values conservation of planet over profits and believes in the approach of 4Rs to tackle the challenge of reducing stock and flow of plastic waste in the environment, for example reducing plastic at source by manufacturing and using films made from PCR, recycling via upcycling and downcycling of MLP (multi-layered plastic) and PET bottles, reusing as source substitution via Pyrolysis, returning to the planet in the form of biomass, if the plastic waste remains uncollected.

The organisation has been working on upholding the utility of plastic in the economy for over three decades when recycling was still an undiscovered concept. It was the first company in the world, ahead of others in developed economies, to recycle mixed plastic waste for which it earned recognition at the Davos Recycling Forum in 1995. It has been recycling its own and partner companies’ industrial plastic waste since then.

Under its global sustainability initiative ‘Project Plastic Fix’, in early 2020 UFlex extended its efforts to include post-consumer plastic waste by setting up lines, at its plant in headquarter city Noida, to recycle as well as upcycle post-consumer MLP mixed plastic waste and PET bottle waste into PCR grade packaging films (PCR PET & PCR PE) and injections moulding equipment. UFlex is scaling up its recycling infrastructure with the commissioning of similar facilities in Mexico and Poland to repurpose plastic waste coming from households locally. Moreover, it is developing an enzyme-based biodegradable solution that converts uncollected plastic waste into biomass.

On joining the Alliance, UFlex chairman & managing director Ashok Chaturvedi said: “Plastic waste crisis is one of the most pressing global concerns of today and as a socially conscious organisation that has sustainability firmly entrenched at its very soul, we are aware that we need to find a solution collectively to enable co-existence of plastic and the human race. The Alliance is the ideal forum for us to bolster our efforts and re-write the overall story of how plastic waste can be repurposed for good. At UFlex, we strongly believe that the path to a plastic waste-free environment is possible with a combination of recycling (mechanical & chemical) and biodegradability. Through our association with the Alliance, we look forward to sharing our knowledge with like-minded global leaders while learning from their approaches to build a circular economy forever.”

UFlex is in the process of investing and has invested of late close to $10m towards various initiatives undertaken at its overseas and Indian plants to repurpose plastic waste and as a board member of the Alliance, remains committed towards investments to support the Alliance define its programmes for reducing mismanaged plastic waste and help achieve the common agenda to keep plastic waste out of the environment. Towards this, UFlex will direct its resources, expertise and investments to deliver innovative sustainable packaging materials that address the issue of plastic waste and implement effective waste management and recycling systems.