Sustainable Plastic Packaging in India 2023

Innovate UK worked closely with key stakeholders including UKRI India, WRAP and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) to organise a Global Expert Mission to India in May 2023. Leveraging UKRI-funded India Plastics Pact (IPP), the Circular Plastics Global Expert Mission (GEM) brought together key stakeholders from the plastic sector to investigate the research and innovation ecosystem in India’s circular plastics sector and economy. The Mission to India provided an opportunity to showcase many of the innovation technologies that the UK are spearheading through Innovate UK and its Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge (SSPP) in the field of circular plastics.


Sustainable Plastic Packaging in India 2023




Sustainable Plastic Packaging

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Sorting plastic waste in India - GEM 2023
Sorting plastic waste in India - GEM 2023

Abstract from outcome report:

The Indian plastics packaging sector shares many similarities with Europe and the UK in the range of polymers used for packaging and the designs and formats, but there are significant differences. While PET, PE and PP are the major packaging polymers in Europe, India still has a significant proportion of PVC and PS (including EPS) packaging in the grocery and fast-food sectors. The differences however are far more pronounced in the downstream stages of waste management and collection once the packaging has served its purpose and becomes waste.

The majority of household and municipal waste plastics are collected by the informal waste sector (IWS) in a variety of different systems and approaches. This system is far more flexible than the heavily automated waste collection and sorting in the UK and can provide highly separated streams of waste plastic at high quality and relatively low contamination. However, waste will only be collected and sorted if there is sufficient value in the waste plastic with an end market.

During the GEM, it was established from interaction with multiple parties that the cost of waste to a recycler/end market compared to virgin is relatively high in India for many grades of waste plastic. This may be due to a number of factors including the large number of steps and intermediaries the waste may go through and the associated transport costs, the large number of competing and growing (non-packaging) end markets.

Watch the recording below from our Dissemination Webinar which took place following the Expert Mission.

About Global Expert Missions

The Global Expert Missions (GEM) programme is funded by Innovate UK and designed to build international collaborations with governments, societies, enterprises, institutions, and people from every corner of the globe. With global challenges requiring international perspectives, the programme aims to support the UK government’s ambition to be the international partner of choice and a global hub for innovation by 2035.


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