Breaking the plastic habit: Insights on building eco-friendly business operations and lifestyles

Industry leaders emphasise the necessity of collaboration, innovation, and behaviour modification in the creation of a more environmentally friendly future

The world is waking up to the harsh realities of plastic waste, and more and more businesses are trying to reduce their environmental impact and focus on building eco-friendly business operations.

Industry leaders from various sustainable organisations have highlighted the urgent need to address plastic waste and promote sustainable practices. They are suggesting a call to action for companies and individuals alike to break free from our plastic habits and embrace a more eco-friendly way of living.

Angelo George, CEO of Bisleri International, emphasized the importance of relevant solutions to address environmental challenges, specifically in the context of India. He identified three challenges related to plastic waste: the lack of safe disposal methods, missing collection systems and technology, and inadequate law enforcement. Bisleri is one of the first FMCG companies in India to achieve plastic neutrality, with constant design and engineering efforts to reduce waste and promote sustainable practices, including the “Bottles of Change” initiative.

Atul Bagai, Head of the United Nations Environment Programme Country Office in India, said that plastic is not inherently bad, but the waste it generates is the real problem. He highlighted the need to address the mindset around plastic, as it is so critical to our existence that we often overlook its negative impact. Additionally, he called for measures to reduce plastic consumption as a key solution to tackling the plastic waste problem.

Pranshu Singhal, founder of Karo Sambhav, addressed the issue of the lack of collection channels, especially in difficult terrains. He identified three requirements for implementing proper collection channels: ease of consumer participation, building trust in the circularity process, and acknowledging the costs of going circular.

Dr. Vijay Habbu, Adjunct Professor, ICT, Mumbai, highlighted that different plastics have different properties and applications. It’s important to distinguish between types of plastics to determine how we collect and process them. Not all plastics are recyclable, and knowledge about the plastics we’re handling will go a long way in facilitating safe disposal.

Shobha Raghavan, COO of Saahas Zero Waste, stressed the need for collaboration between the formal and informal sectors in dealing with the plastic problem. She argued that training the informal sector on the types of materials that can be recycled and covering environmental, health, and safety parameters are necessary to facilitate their participation.

Apurva Bhandari, Founder & CEO of SankalpTaru Foundation, emphasised the need for “plastic consciousness” and behavioural change to reduce plastic waste. He highlighted the lack of sensitization about the utilities of plastic waste and suggested interventions to teach children at a young age and inculcate sustainable practices. Bhandari also stressed the responsibility of corporations to innovate and make the transition from single-use to recyclable plastic.

The insights shared by industry leaders emphasized the importance of collaboration, innovation, and behavioural change in creating a more eco-friendly future.

The industry experts came together at a recent panel discussion titled “Build Sustainable Business Operations, Bring About Lifestyle Changes,” held at the ET Global Business Summit in New Delhi.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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