The firm recycles plastic by removing the ink, coatings, and contaminants to provide near-virgin quality compounds that brands use to make mainstream products and packaging.
Banyan Nation, an Indian startup, is the first Indian firm to be shortlisted for the fourth edition of the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Circular Economy Awards this year.
The concept of a circular economy revolves diametrically opposite to the traditional linear economy which is based on 'make, use and dispose'. Circular economy, when applied to plastic- calls for using it for as much time as possible, and then to extract any usable content and regenerate products with it before discarding the plastic.
The WEF works in collaboration with Accenture and identifies young entrepreneurs and firms which are taking an effort to switch their economy to practice the norms of circular economics by providing the required material to the society as a whole.
Banyan Nation recycles plastic by removing the ink, coatings, and contaminants to provide near-virgin quality compounds that brands use to make mainstream products and packaging.
Virgin plastic is what we have been using before the concept of recycled plastic came about. Although virgin plastic is durable, some of its variants like PVC or electronic components with flame retardants are known to have carcinogens which can be harmful to the environment.
Several established firms such as Tata Motors and L'Oreal have identified the usefulness of Banyan Nation's business model and working with it for various use cases.
Tata Motors provides Banyan its discarded bumpers. "We are taking all those bumpers and we convert it to high-performance compounds which Tata Motors uses to make bumpers," explains Banyan Nation Chief Operating Officer (COO) Raj Madangopal in an interview with Moneycontrol.
For L'Oréal, a global cosmetic player with high standards for using recycling products, Banyan built a large network of kabadiwalas, and sources material to make recycled plastics. L'Oréal uses this in shampoo bottles.
Madangopal explained that recycling plastic is not only saving the environment but it also helps India's informal sector play a role in the industry. The informal sector workers are generally the ones who take the effort of supplying and collecting the discarded plastic.
"India consumes about 20 million tonne per annum of plastic across various sectors and of that, almost 10 million tonne gets discarded. But, a large portion of that - almost 80-90 percent-is getting downcycled due to the informal recyclers who lack scientific rigor leading to improper cleaning and cross contamination of resins," he explained.The firm provides recycled plastic material to a wide range of industries. "We work with FMCGs, auto firms and electronic sectors by providing them recycled plastic. We get this plastic by sourcing the plastic from various sectors," said Banyan Nation Director Rashi Agarwal.