The company has announced a grant to the NGO Hasiru Dala, who will recycle multilayered plastic (MLP) waste to create sustainable furniture boards for creating tables and benches as well as for other uses. The pilot project aims to convert ~600 tonnes of MLP waste per annum into WoW Boards.

On the initiative, Deepak Iyer, President – India, Mondelez International, says: ‘One of the key challenges in India is recycling of multilayered plastics, given the infrastructure constraints. While on the one hand we continue to work with the government to support collection, segregation and recycling, we felt it was critical to experiment with and support enterprising technologies and initiatives that could recycle multilayered plastics at scale to address the issues of waste management. This one-of-a-kind pilot project recycles multilayered plastics to create WoW Boards that are highly durable and a sustainable plywood alternative for building, construction, furniture, and other end uses. We have made a grant to Hasiru Dala that will convert waste to wealth, generate employment, and create a viable business model while addressing the challenges of MLP in a sustainable manner. The success of this project and its learnings will create a model for companies in India to replicate for MLP recycling at scale.’

MLP waste will be collected by Hasiru Dala’s wide network of waste-collection units and then processed and converted at a special unit set up in Bengaluru. The technology solution, provided by TrashCon, a waste-recycling equipment manufacturer, will create durable WoW Boards that can be used for a variety of purposes, both industrial and consumer. The initiative is expected to begin commercial production in July 2021.

‘Hasiru Dala has been working with the local government in Bengaluru to manage inorganic waste for several years by creating entrepreneurs out of waste pickers. We have always been looking for solutions to multilayered and low-value plastic. A study in 2018 showed that more than 80 per cent of plastic waste collected is low value but bring almost nothing in terms of income to the centres. They typically end up at landfills or in co-processing in cement kilns. The WoW Boards will help bring income to the waste pickers and will have applications particularly in replacing wood-based sheets in construction and furnishings,’ Nalini Shekar, co-founder, Hasiru Dala, informs.

As part of Mondelez International’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact, it is addressing the biggest sustainability challenges relevant to its business, which includes plastics pollution. Over 97% of Mondelez India’s packaging is currently designed to be recyclable. In 2019–2020 and in 2020–21, the company claims to have achieved 100% extended producer responsibility targets in India.