TERI to help Tetra Pak formulate strategies to reduce number of straws getting disposed in India
Straws, found with portion beverage carton packs, are the last mode of carrying hygienic beverages /drinks to our body. Though there are numerous benefits of having a straw with the beverage pack, yet the mismanagement of plastic waste collection had posed subsequent impacts, through micro and nanoplastics, on our environment.
Although straws are easily recyclable by material (plastic straws), the challenge remains in the collection of these straws and further handling to make this recycling economically feasible. As a result of this uneconomic feasibility, most of the straws are not directly recycled. This is one of the reasons why single-use plastics have been a challenge across the world.
As a part of voluntary extended producer responsibility (EPR), Tetra Pak India Limited has engaged The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) to commence a study, with an aim to understand the fate of generated straw waste with used portion-sized beverage carton packages and challenges associated with collection of these straws. This study will help Tetra Pak India Limited to formulate strategies and internal policies to make their products further sustainable.
As a part of the study, three main metro cities in India; Delhi in North, Bengaluru in South and Mumbai in West are selected to assess the perception of stakeholders (via primary surveys) and analyse portion packs which are found with straws at large scale waste dealer level (using sample size with >90% confidence level and 10% allowable margin of error). Further, paper mills getting these portion packs will also be assessed to understand the ultimate fate of straws getting along with UBCs. This will give an estimate of the percentage of straws that are diverted from being disposed of in the environment.
Below are some preliminary findings of the study:
- In Bengaluru, the share of UBCs (portion packs) with straws at waste dealer level is 40.8%, UBCs getting recycled is 100%, and the percentage of straws being collected is 40.8%.
- In Delhi, the share of UBCs with straws at dealer level is 91.4%, UBCs getting recycled is 37.91%, and the percentage of straws getting collected is 34.65%.
- In Mumbai, UBCs with straws at dealer level is 30.2%, UBCs getting recycled is 60.47% and the share of straws getting collected is 18.26%.
This study will also be helpful to policymakers, urban local bodies, think tanks, NGOs and waste processors to understand the scenario and help them formulate further strategies for managing plastic waste in India.
In the past, TERI's Centre for Waste Management has conducted similar studies: