Waste is a big environmental challenge, for companies across the board. Leading Indian companies recognize waste management as a key issue. Led by regulatory changes, many companies have discussed plastic waste and e-waste management measures in their sustainability reports. Separately, some companies have extended their waste management practices to help communities manage municipal waste – both solid and liquid.
1. Plastic Waste
Plastic is used in various sectors such as building & construction, consumer products (such as furniture, housewares, automobiles, electronics, etc.), industrial goods (such as machines) and packaging. Packaging forms the lion share in plastic consumption as the latter is a material of choice in nearly half of all packaged goods. Despite being a material with very useful properties, its omnipresence and non- biodegradable nature are posing it as an environmental challenge, hence it needs to be managed responsibly.
In 2016, as part of the revision in the Plastic Waste Management rules, the Government introduced three key components, viz. a) Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), b) phasing out of manufacture and use of non-recyclable multi-layered plastic and c) reuse of plastic. In our study of top 200 companies, we found programs being initiated for the first and the third components, but nothing was disclosed for multi-layered plastic phasing out.