ITC scales up sustainable packaging, cuts plastic use

Reducing plastic across products and businesses

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ITC
ITC says it is working to reduce the use of plastic in packaging across its products.

On 5 June 2023, World Environment Day, the Kolkata-headquartered conglomerate ITC reaffirmed its commitment to address the issue of plastic waste management through its multi-dimensional initiatives. Powered by its ‘Sustainability 2.0’ vision articulated by chairman and MD Sanjiv Puri, the company has been scaling up its investment in developing innovative and eco-friendly packaging solutions that can substitute single-use plastics. 

ITC sustained its Plastic Neutrality status for the second consecutive year by sustainably managing 60,000 MT of plastic waste in FY23, which is more than the amount of packaging utilized, the company said.

Commenting on the company’s commitment to reducing plastic use, B Sumant, executive director, ITC, said “At ITC, we have put in place comprehensive interventions for waste management with a focus on plastics.  Our paperboards, paper and packaging businesses continue to pioneer sustainable packaging solutions that can substitute single use plastics. Many of our brands and businesses have also innovated to reduce the usage of plastics in line with our commitment to create a positive environmental footprint.”

ITC’s paperboards, paper and packaging businesses are at the forefront of innovation in packaging solutions, which substitute use of single use plastics. ITC has developed sustainable packaging options through extensive research conducted at its Life Sciences and Technology Centre on laminated and moulded fibre platforms, among others. It has developed a range of eco-friendly products, including recyclable paperboards named ‘FiloPack’ and ‘FiloServe,’ as well as two biodegradable paperboards, ‘OmegaBev’ and ‘OmegaBarr.’ 

These paperboards, the company says,  provide effective alternatives to plastic-coated containers and cups used in deep freeze applications. Addressing the issue of plastic food containers for delivery, the paperboard business has introduced the IndoBowl, a paperboard-based product that replaces traditional plastic containers. Additionally, it has developed high-strength, multi-layered paper products as a substitute for single-use plastic cutlery and the ‘WrapWell’ food wrapping paper that is designed to be food-grade, eco-friendly, oil and grease resistant, and microwave-safe. 

ITC’s Packaging business spans both fiber-based and plastic laminate offerings. The business is accelerating development of Recyclable laminates with reduced plastic usage, which are more circular by design. The business is working on next generation Coatings and New Laminate structures and has launched innovative products such as Bio-seal, Germfree for Tea envelopes, and QSR segments, which offer sustainability driven alternatives in the cartons and flexible packaging market. The business has won three World Packaging Organization awards (WPO) selected by an international jury, for developing sustainable packaging for beverages and Ice-cream segments. 

Plastic reduction in packaging of personal care brands

ITC says it has extended its sustainable packaging initiatives to its own personal care products as well significantly. Several of ITC’s personal care brands are progressively adopting recyclable options. For instance, Fiama Shower Gel bottles now incorporate 50% post-consumer recycled material, while Savlon Glycerine Soap Wrapper utilizes 70% post-consumer recycled plastic in its PET layer. In the case of Engage Perfume and Cologne bottles, the brand has shifted to 100% paper-based recyclable cartons.

Foods Business

ITC’s Foods business has implemented various measures to reduce the usage of plastics, the company says. 

Aashirvaad Organic Whole Wheat Atta has introduced a 1kg pack in a paper-based bag, reducing plastic usage by 25% through the use of special paper developed by ITC’s paperboards & specialty papers business. Sunfeast Yippee! Power Up Noodles transitioned to 100% mono-material PP laminate for both the outer pack and inner sachet, replacing multi-layered PET/PE laminate, reducing plastic usage. 

ITC MasterChef Frozen Snacks has transitioned to 100% mono-material PE laminate for select variants, replacing multi-layered PET/PE laminate packaging. B Natural Juices uses 25% recycled content shrink wrap in secondary packaging, promoting the use of recycled material.

ITC’s Hotels Business has replaced plastic water bottles with eco-friendly glass bottles. Furthermore, plastic drinking straws, stirrers, and other plastic items have been substituted with paper and wood-based alternatives, contributing to the reduction of plastic pollution. 

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