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“Managing plastics the problem,” states Tiwari at Nat’l Pkg Conference
Monday, 13 January, 2020, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
Plastics are not the problem, but managing them is. This was stated by Rajesh Tiwari, special chief secretary, environment, forests, science and technology, Government of Telangana, who inaugurated the 2020 essay of the annual one-day National Packaging Conference, which took place at a hotel in Hyderabad recently.

The theme of the meet, organised by the city chapter of the Indian Institute of Packaging, the apex body for the packaging industry in India, was Recycling and Sustainability of Packaging Materials: Facts, Myths and Way Forward.

“Sixty per cent of plastic is recycled currently. The balance is posing the threat. Reduction in consumption of plastics is the new mantra. The complete ban on plastics may put undue pressure on forests,” Tiwari said.

“We have to take a balanced approach. The government is open to discussions and suggestions. We invite the packaging industry to work with the government in this regard,” he added.

“In spite of so much hue and cry, people are still using plastic bags,” said Madan Mohan Reddy, director, Aurobindo Pharma Ltd, who was the special guest.

He added that the government has to play an important role in educating and creating awareness.

Both Tiwari and Reddy unveiled conference souvenir/proceedings book.

“IIP is set by the Indian packaging and allied industry, and the Government of India, Ministry of Commerce, with the objective of improving packaging standards in India,” informed Dr Gaurav Madhu, joint director, IIP Hyderabad, in his welcome remarks.

Prof (Dr) Tanweer Alam, additional director, IIP Mumbai, said, “The objective of the conference is to learn and share from each other’s experiences some of the issues and challenges that confront the industry.”

The packaging industry in India is anticipated to reach $73.6 billion by 2020. It is predicted to grow at the rate 18 per cent annually. The flexible packaging is growing at 25 per cent, and rigid packaging at 15 per cent.

The per capita consumption of packaging in India is significantly lower than the global average. So, several multinational companies are being attracted to Indian market due to the strong long-term growth prospects of packaging market.

“Packaging, especially plastic packaging, is a valuable and should be recycled wherever possible. In India, approximately 65 per cent of the plastic waste is recycled, which is much higher in comparison to advanced countries,” the release stated.

Vagish Dixit, chairman, IIP Hyderabad, explained the theme and importance of the conference.

“Consume less. Consume sensibly. The younger generation is much more sensible in terms of sustainability than the older generation,” he said.

“If you ban plastics completely, and shift to paper, no trees will be leftover. Similarly if you shift to glass, there will be a six per cent rise in the temperature to the current level and world becomes unsustainable to live,” Dixit added.

“Shifting metals is not the solution. So what is left is consume less, consume sensibly. E-waste is a great menace. Why is no one making a hue and cry about it? That is because it is recycled. In Europe, 99 per cent of the e-waste is recycled. Computer dump impacts within months to the ground water table,” he stated.

Among several other things, recyclability and sustainability of packaging material; myths and reality in use of plastics; plastics packaging waste; sustainability in packaging, and making plastics work for global good, etc., were discussed at the conference.

The speakers and panellists include S N Venkatraman, vice-president, marketing, ITC Ltd, PSPD; Rajesh K Khosla, president, AGI Glaspac; Avinash Kumar, head, global sourcing, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, and others.

About 250 delegates comprised of packaging professionals both from the government and private organisations, students and policy makers are expected to participate in the same.  The conference is organised in support with the World Packaging Organization and the Asian Packaging Federation.

The organisers strictly adhered to some sustainable practices in organising the meet. They announced that they plan to plant 100 trees each in honour of Tiwari and Reddy. They also presented them a certificate towards this effect. They also planned to plant ten trees in honour of each of the 18 speakers at the national conference.
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