India Attempting to become plastic free – Since last few months, Indian government has started taking the initiative to make India Plastic Free. It is a commendable effort and my sincerest gratitude to the visionaries who are helping spread this awareness into mass movement.
Plastic Usage in Milk Industry
India consumes approx 4000 Crore milk pouches every year, and around 50% more plastic in form of other plastics for milk products. So, is it worth the effort to reduce at least 1.25 lac tonnes of plastic from milk pouches alone? I will say YES. All we need to do is come together to make this happen.
Most Efficient & Permanent Solutions
- Using Glass Bottles – My dad asked some time back, that when he was in Mumbai in 70-80s, milk used to come in glass bottles, so why can’t it be done now. Simple answer is that it can be done. However, for this we need to change our mindset both as a consumer and as companies.
Consumer Level preparation
- We need to get back into habit of handling milk bottles – prevent breakage, wash them after use for recycling to prevent unnecessary contamination
- Be prepared for slightly increased cost because of increased logistics cost of carrying additional weight (hence reduced vehicle capacity), the return logistics, and some breakage
- make more organised space in our refrigerators to store bottles
The companies need to gear up at a different level
- changing their logistics style to suit carrying fragile bottles
- Increase cold storage space to accommodate bottles (double space),
- increase vehicles (atleast double) to carry lesser bottles
- Distributors and shop keepers need to improve their handling capabilities
- Direct-to-home companies need to expand workforce to carry the same load
- The entire value chain needs to plan reverse logistics and washing and cleaning of bottles
Cost implication of glass bottles – On cost side, this shall increase the costing by approximately Rs 5 /ltr
2. Simply go back to the “Mother Dairy Booth” way. Create dispensation points, where people can go to collect milk in their own steel buckets. Cost can actually be brought down by Rs. 0.5 per litre. The only catch is consumers will have to go to pick their milk from the milk points.
3. Government Way – Recycle more – Forcing the companies to participate in recycling their plastic, as municipalities alone failed in the task. However, the best possible use of these plastics is as fuel in cement company furnaces and really not being able to re-create good quality plastic. So, this can reduce plastic in land fills, but the environmental impact is still very high.
Glass is better than plastic for recycling – Glass on other hand, can be recycled far more efficiently and without loosing the integrity either.
Our Attempts At Sahaj
We are working with government mandate of bringing in more and more plastic into organised recycling. In very near future we plan to shift to glass bottles for home delivery and bring dispenser machines at our round-the-corner shops for retail sales