What is India Plastics Pact?

The India Plastics Pact is an ambitious, collaborative initiative that aims to bring together businesses, governments, and NGOs to set time-bound commitments to tackle the issue of plastic pollution and subsequently reduce plastic packaging from their value chain. The India Plastics Pact’s vision is “a world where plastic is valued and doesn’t pollute the environment”.

What are the Targets for the India Plastics Pact?

The India Plastics Pact aligns around four ambitious, time-bound targets to focus action and resources:

  • Define a list of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging and items and take measures to address through redesign and innovation
  • By 2030, 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable
  • By 2030, 50% of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled
  • By 2030, 25% average recycled content across all plastic packaging

The targets are envisaged to be for 2030 with interim milestones. This reflects the scale of the plastic pollution crisis in India and allows for necessary investments and reforms.

What are the benefits of becoming a member of the India Plastics Pact?

  • Opportunity to demonstrate dynamic industry leadership, and to highlight your actions and achievements
  • Access to expert, impartial advice on sustainable plastics
  • Create new cross-value partnerships with businesses, NGOs, and governments to catalyse progress towards national India Plastics Pact targets
  • Access to, and engagement with, other Plastics Pacts globally accelerating change and benefitting businesses
  • Access to research, innovation, and technical guidance
  • The opportunity to help shape the India Plastics Pact’s targets, Roadmap and Action Groups.

Who is eligible to join the Pact?

India Plastics Pact has membership of two types:

Members

  • Businesses that produce plastic/plastic packaging
  • Brands, retailers, importers, manufacturers, wholesalers, suppliers, hospitality businesses selling products in plastic packaging
  • Businesses that manage, collect, recycle and/or reprocess plastic waste

Supporters

  • Organisations and institutions that commit to supporting the delivery of the India Plastics Pact targets
  • Including Regional, State, and Central Government, NGOs, sector associations and bodies, financial institutions, academia, researchers, technology providers, informal waste sector organisations, and Producer Responsibility Organisations

What is expected from stakeholders who join and support the Pact?

Every stakeholder has a role to play in supporting the Pact. Companies that are interested in being a Member of the Pact will be expected to:

  • embed the India Plastics Pact targets in their organisation
  • contribute to working groups
  • encourage the use of recycled plastic (in packaging and products) where appropriate
  • share on-field experiences
  • report annually on progress for monitoring
  • pay membership dues annually

Supporters shall be expected to:

  • embed the India Plastics Pact targets in the organisations where appropriate
  • support the delivery of the Plastics Pact targets through the work of their organisation
  • cascade the outputs and guidance from the India Plastics Pact to members/ and citizens as appropriate

How does the Pact relate to other initiatives in India?

Plastic pollution is a critical environmental issue as the demand for disposable plastic products overwhelm India’s capability to deal with them. But the plastic pollution crisis is not new and there are many important initiatives underway to help improve the plastics system in the country. There are national and state policies, citizen awareness campaigns, individual companies carrying out initiatives and projects, technical innovations, etc. The India Plastics Pact is not intended to replicate the existing efforts underway in India but to accelerate and advance the great work already being done by bringing leading businesses and organisations together under one set of targets and one initiative – the India Plastics Pact.

The experience from other Plastics Pacts internationally, is that a Pact can have a direct and positive impact, through the powerful combination of:

  • representation from the whole plastics value chain
  • ambitious, collective targets addressing the full lifecycle of packaging
  • tackling the major, systemic challenges in the plastics sector
  • encompassing all polymers and formats

One of the goals of the India Plastics Pact is to identify action-focused initiatives that can become a part of the Pact delivery programme and fundraise to support the launch of new initiatives and pilots that will essentially help in meeting the agreed targets.

Is the India Plastics Pact linked with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation? How does the Pact link to EMF’s work?

The vision, targets, and ambition of the India Plastics Pact are aligned with the circular economy principles of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy.  WRAP collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to launch the first Plastics Pact in the UK in 2018, and since then has helped set up and /or support Plastics Pacts in many countries. WRAP is providing technical and operational support to the India Plastics Pact and thereby providing a link to the other Plastics Pacts globally.

 

In addition to the various Plastics Pacts, hundreds of companies operating in India, and globally, have signed up to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. The combination of global and national momentum towards a circular economy for plastics is a powerful force for action.

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WRAP and the India Plastics Pact are being supported with funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

What will the actual work of the Pact look like?

The India Plastics Pact delivery programme will align around four ambitious, time-bound targets to focus action and resources based on the challenges of the India plastic packaging sector. This shall be accomplished through collaborative efforts that may focus on advancing the recyclability of packaging, increasing the use of recycled materials, and innovating sustainable and resource-efficient waste management models. With the key support from the members, India Plastics Pact will develop a Roadmap to identify key milestones towards achieving the targets set. The Roadmap is expected to be published within the first year of the India Plastics Pact. Collaborative Action Groups would be formed with the representation of experienced professionals to drive action towards meeting the targets. The success rate defining factor will be the scalability of solutions across different sector and regions of India.

What problems will the India Plastics Pact help resolve?

Plastic pollution is a growing environmental concern, one that is rapidly turning into a crisis. The focus of action of the India Plastics Pact is to bring together key stakeholders from across the plastics value chain to implement practical solutions. These solutions will be shaped by the founding members and supporters, however, the range of issues that the India Plastics Pact will help address is likely to include:

  • Improved business understanding and implementation of regulatory reform on plastic waste management
  • Lack of end-of-life consideration for plastics in the product designing phase which limits their potential for reuse and recycling
  • Lack of engagement and understanding of the informal waste sector by the plastic packaging producers and businesses
  • Limited end markets and lower demand of recycled plastic material
  • Providing the opportunity and stimulus for new business models and innovations in reuse and recycling to be piloted and trialed/li>
  • Limited awareness among consumers on the benefits of plastics recycling and the role they can play
  • More consistent on-pack labelling and communications on recycling

When is the India Plastics Pact officially launching? How can I get involved?

India Plastics Pact launched on 3rd September 2021 with the official announcement of its targets and founding members and supporters. The initial Action Groups and Roadmap commence shortly after launch. Companies can get involved by submitting their request online to become a member or can reach out to: vaggarwal@wwfindia.net, Nandini.kumar@cii.in

How can citizens engage with the India Plastics Pact?

Meeting the target of the India Plastics Pact will require a collective action, and this includes driving citizen engagement campaigns with the support of NGO, research institutes and governmental bodies. Through the delivery of citizen engagements, interaction and partnerships, the India Plastic Pact can work towards educating and inspiring citizens to adopt more sustainable behaviors (such as recycling, reuse)

How do we determine the “unnecessary or problematic” plastic packaging?

Towards achieving the Target #1 of the India Plastics Pact, the plastic packaging companies will commit to proactively identify problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging in their portfolios and eliminate them through redesign, innovation, replacement and new (reuse) delivery models. The criteria to help identify problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging or plastic packaging components are:

  • Use is avoidable, or reusable options are available
  • Not reusable or recyclable
  • Hinders or disrupts the recyclability of other items
  • High likelihood of being littered or ending up in the natural environment

Why is India Plastic Pact important?

Plastic pollution is a growing environmental concern, one that is rapidly turning into a crisis. The packaging industry in India has been growing rapidly, especially in business-to-consumer applications, fueling the generation of plastic waste. The total quantity of plastic packaging consumed in India is approximately 6.33 million metric tonnes (MMT) per annum. Government policies in conjunction with individual action can achieve a lot, but collective action of multiple stakeholders is required to unlock barriers of circularity and create new business models to transform the plastic packaging sector. There is need to galvanize collective business action to eliminate, innovate, circulate and accelerate the transition from a linear to a circular economy

What is the process to evaluate and measure the success of the Pact?

The success of the India Plastics Pact will be measured by achieving the interim milestones laid down for member and supporter organisations towards achieving the four targets by 2030. These milestones will be outlined in a roadmap and published in the first year of the Pact. Reflecting the scale of the challenge caused by plastic pollution in India and allowing time for necessary investments and reforms by the stakeholders in the plastic value chain, the timeline is set for 2030.


Each member organisation will also submit an annual report highlighting the progress made towards achieving the set targets. The annual reports submitted by the members will be kept confidential to the secretariat, but a cumulative report highlighting the progress of the Pact will be disclosed publicly.