Post-Consumer Tetra Pak Cartons (PCCs) Management
The report reflects the status of PCC management in 13 cities in India and three cities in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Tetra Pak cartons are primarily made from paper. A Tetra Pak carton is composed of 75% paperboard, 20% polyethylene, and 5% aluminium. As part of environmental initiatives, Tetra Pak has undertaken various activities for collecting and recycling Post-Consumer Tetra Pak Cartons (PCCs) and is working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and waste pickers to segregate PCCs.
The overarching objective of this study is exploring the collection and recycling practices of PCCs and the current quantum of Tetra Pak cartons procured/retrieved by waste dealers. Also to assess the actual quantum of PCC reaching paper mills that recycle paper from low -grade paper waste and fate of pulping rejects. Value chain and economics in collection and recycling was also studied. These studies also helped in understand the number of PCCs reaching dumpsites. Ultimately this predicts the needs to upscale collection and recycling: economics, awareness, infrastructure, and soon.
Based on the study conducted, TERI recommends the following:
- PCC management can be effectively increased in cities with no or low market by developing markets in these cities. Active recycling has a significant contribution to the overall recycling of PCCs. Hence, efforts should be made to upscale the capacity of the existing collection centres and to install more such centres in other cities.
- PCC management can be more efficient if the chain is small and there is a better price in the market for the collectors.
- Awareness among recyclers about the potential for using PCCs is important. This should be done by highlighting statistics and case studies of mills consuming PCCs for paper production.
- R&D should be carried out for efficient technologies for separating paper from PCCs and usage of polyethylene and aluminium recovered thereafter. Paper mills and recyclers should also be involved so as to create a better market.
- Kolkata, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Chennai reported the highest informal recycling rate for PCCs. Many ragpickers in Kolkatta and Guwahati reported that they separated paper and aluminium from the PCCs before selling them to kabadiwalas. The management of PCCs should be further studied and lessons should be replicated at other places along with proper environmental pollution control measures.
- Such an exercise (to study the management of PCCs in major cities and identify the recycling rates) may be repeated every 3 years to assess the improvement in recycling rates.