+ The India Plastics Pact: Paving the Way for a Circular Plastics Economy – CII Blog

India marks a significant stride towards a circular plastics economy through the launch of the India Plastics Pact, taking forward the mission of sustainability.

As the world grapples with the growing plastic pollution crisis, several governments are speaking out in favour of a legally binding global treaty to combat plastic pollution. The recognition of a collective action across the plastic packaging value chain at the global level is required to tackle this escalating problem. 

Stakeholders are calling out for an international agreement to minimize the use of virgin plastics, facilitate a circular economy and eliminate plastic pollution. The Plastics Pacts, active and engaged in 12 countries around the world, offer a mechanism for bringing about such changes contextualized to the local conditions. 

Today, there is a growing network of Pacts around the world, all of which work towards the vision, “a world where plastic is valued and doesn’t pollute the environment.” Joining other Plastics Pacts in Europe, Africa, North America, Latin America and Australia, India launched the India Plastics Pact, the first Plastics Pact in Asia and the twelfth worldwide, on 3 September 2021. 

The India Plastics Pact is a collaboration between the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and WWF India, anchored in CII by the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development (CESD). It is supported by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a global NGO based in the UK. 

The Pact will bring about collaborative action across the entire plastics value chain – from the design to the disposal stage of every plastic packaging item which will enable stakeholders to implement practical solutions and transform the plastics packaging value chain from linear to circular. The India Plastics Pact is tailored specifically to meet the needs of plastics packaging value chain businesses in the Indian context and create opportunities for a circular economy for plastic packaging.

Ensuring that the targets of the India Plastics Pact become a reality will take commitment and collective action; a profound paradigm shift involving rethinking and innovating along the entire life cycle of plastic packaging. Every Member of the Pact will be required to act on the collective targets developed to address the unique challenges faced in India. The four targets of the India Plastics Pact are:

  • Define a list of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging and items and take measures to address them through redesign and innovation 
  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable 
  • 50% of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled 
  • 25% average recycled content across all plastic packaging

The targets are envisaged to be achieved by 2030 with interim milestones outlined in a roadmap to be published within the first year of the Pact. Delivering the targets will   concomitantly deliver significant greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction through reduction in fossil-derived plastics and greater use of recycled plastics.

Till September, 20 members and 11 supporters from across the plastics value chain signed up for the India Plastics Pact, including packaging producers, convertors, brand owners, recyclers, PROs and NGOs. The businesses will now work towards building a circular economy for plastics which will redefine the way plastic packaging is designed, used, discarded and reintroduced. 

To facilitate this, the India Plastics Pact secretariat has formulated a 100-day plan which sets out the priority actions. The key activities include setting up an Advisory Committee to guide the secretariat on the focus and strategic direction of the Pact, and Collaborative Action Groups, which will work on specific areas of interest in alignment with the four target areas. 

Three technical projects led by WRAP are planned to build ‘mini-roadmaps’ on immediate challenges. The secretariat will organize workshops and webinars delivered by experts from within the Pact network. By the end of the first year, a delivery roadmap and the reporting process will be defined to help achieve the long-term targets of the Pact.

The India Plastics Pact secretariat will continue engaging and recruiting new members and supporters. CII and WWF India call out to stakeholders in different parts of the plastics value chain to join, support and take steps towards a circular plastics economy. To join the India Plastics Pact and know more about the current members and supporter organisations, please visit the India Plastics Pact website. View a short video on the India Plastics Pact here.