Dow has signed a memorandum of understanding with a young India-based recycling company to develop and produce polyethylene film solutions made from locally collected, difficult-to-recycle plastic scraps. By turning flexible plastic waste into post-consumer recycled (PCR) film solutions, Dow and Lucro PlasteCycle are helping boost the circular economy in India while also benefiting local communities.
The collaboration represents a promising blueprint for how a global company such as Dow can work along the value chain to help scale solutions to address environmental challenges. Each year, India generates about 9.46 million metric tons of plastic waste annually. As the population has increased, India’s fragmented waste management infrastructure has struggled to keep pace with the waste generated, and nearly 40% of plastic waste goes uncollected. Closing this loop on plastic waste requires robust end markets for recycled materials, and Dow is helping scale the market for PCR content in Asia by turning it into a new product.
Lucro is supported by Circulate Capital’s Ocean Fund (CCOF), which works to avoid plastic waste entering the ocean and advance the circular economy in South and Southeast Asia.
“Scrap packaging is one of the country’s highest contributors of plastic waste, and we look forward to this collaboration helping to promote the adoption of sustainable solutions amongst brand owners and manufacturers, and contribute to a reduction in plastics entering the environment as waste,” said Bambang Candra, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics Asia Pacific commercial vice president.
Here’s how the partnership is expected to work:
- Lucro will use its trademark Plast-E-Cycle process to convert plastic waste into granules for recyclable and compostable products.
- Dow will use its team of packaging experts, material scientists, recycling equipment, blown film manufacturing and testing capabilities at Pack Studios Shanghai and Mumbai to support Lucro in the development of the recycled film.
- The film structures will be produced by processing plastic waste collected via different recycled streams in combination with Dow’s virgin resins.
- The new, more sustainable solution will initially be used to produce collation shrink film, which is used as a secondary packaging to wrap bottles, cans and liquid cartons for storage and transport.
Lucro works with non-governmental organizations and other social organizations to help improve the livelihood of waste pickers and their families through training, equitable wages and upholding occupational health standards. The recycling sector offers opportunities to improve sanitary conditions, increase materials recovery, upskill employees and alleviate poverty.
“Lucro was founded on the belief that there is value to be found in mismanaged plastic waste through recycling. With intent, effort and collaboration across the entire value chain, we can define and build a new plastic value chain that ensures the material is reused and does not end up in the environment,” said Ujwal Desai, co-founder and managing director of Lucro.