India Inc steps up anti-plastic drive
Several leading firms are trying to make their workplaces plastic free with sustainable alternatives without affecting convenience or comfort of employees.
Companies such as Infosys, Hindustan Unilever, Capgemini, Bigbasket, Royal Bank of Scotland, NTPC, Tata Power, Schneider, Genpact, Swiggy and Hero MotoCorp are going all out to introduce measures to eliminate use of single-use plastic.
Some of the measures they have taken include eliminating bottled water by having a centralised water purifier and dispenser unit, replacing plastic bottles with glass or metal bottles, replacing disposable cups, plates and spoons with ones that can be reused, using cardboard business cardholders, and replacing plastic bags with reusable bags such as jute.
“These initiatives enable reducing plastic significantly,” said Guruprakash Sastry, regional head, infrastructure and green initiatives, at Infosys. He said the IT major has banned the use of plastic bags within the company since a few years, and has pledged to eliminate use of single use plastic within the company by 2020.
Anuranjita Kumar, managing director, human resources, international hubs, at RBS, said seemingly small measures such as shifting to reusable cups, plates and bottles can go a long way in eliminating plastic from workplaces.
State-run power producer NTPC has completely stopped use of single-use plastic across all its locations, whether power stations, offices or residential townships. It has made reusable bags or jute bags mandatory.
Tata Power is focusing on keeping neighbourhood and public places clean from plastic and sensitising the larger population on the source of the problem. The company held ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ campaign across all plant locations – Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Praveer Sinha, managing director at Tata Power, said about 2,853 Tata Power employees participated in this initiative and collectively contributed more than 4,000 man hours, including weekends.
FMCG major Hindustan Unilever has committed to moving to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025, a company spokesperson said.
“We have also committed that 25% of all the plastic we use will come from recycled sources by 2025,” the person said. “We are working towards achieving this goal. We continually look at new ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover packaging and waste as we move towards becoming a zero-waste business. Globally, we have reduced nearly one-third of our packaging waste since 2010.”
Consulting and technology services firm Capgemini recently introduced measures like ‘Bring your own bottle’ and started a Cap Bottle Challenge (Capgemini’s twist to the bottle cap challenge) to mobilise employees to do away with single-use plastic bottles at its offices in India.
“Going forth, we are introducing more measures at our offices as we progressively strive to reduce our dependence on plastic,” said Vijay Chandramohan, head of health, safety & environment in India at Capgemini. “Internal meetings will no longer be provided with plastic water bottles.
Adequate water stations will be made available for meetings to meet the need.
Our F&B partners will steadily start replacing PET bottles with alternatives.” Online grocery store Bigbasket has moved to paper and cardboard for all of its fruits and vegetables (F&V) packaging, apart from measures at workplace including replacing plastic water bottles with steel bottles and use of porcelain cups and plates, its HR head TN Hari said.
Some like Hero MotoCorp are going beyond just workplace to take the plastic free drive outside. The two-wheeler maker’s recent annual dealers convention in Goa was completely free of single use plastic.