Better Plastics

City of Hyderabad, India

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growthSDG 9: Industry innovation and infrastructureSDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
Banyan Nation, an Indian plastic recycling company based in Hyderabad, has received much international attention for its use of data intelligence to collect plastic waste and repurpose it by removing inks, coatings, and other contaminants using environment-friendly detergents and solvents. The plastic cleaning technology used by Banyan converts collected post-consumer and post-industrial plastic waste into high quality recycled granules comparable in quality and performance to virgin plastic.

Around 20 million tons of plastic per year is consumed in India for products and packaging. India is world leading when it comes to the recycling of plastic bottles, some estimates that as much as 70-80 percent of bottles are recycled. That equals about 10 million tons of discarded plastic that makes it into recycling streams annually, but over 80 percent of this is downcycled into potentially contaminated low-value products. It is a large amount of downcycled plastic disabling the possibility to meet the uprising demand of virgin plastics. The challenge that Banyan Nation address is how to recycle plastic in such a way that it can be reused for the same original product, therefore closing the circle.

Good practices and solutions

The idea behind Banyan Nation is to limit the downcycling of plastic waste; when the plastic waste is contaminated with low-value plastics, product remnants like oils, shampoos and moisture and in certain cases heavy metals such as lead, phosphorus, mercury and the like that can be harmful to humans. The process of cleaning the plastic, as developed by Banyan, is able to produce a near virgin state of plastic making it possible for an upcycling, rather than downcycling, of waste. This technology has, for example, enabled car manufacturer to recycle a bumper into a brand new one at competitive cost, thereby enabling more effective use of resources.

Outcomes & Opportunities

To date, Banyan Nation has recycled over 500 tons of plastic, reduced over 750 tons of carbon dioxide, and diverted over 1,000 tons of plastic from landfills. Banyan is also the only Indian company yet to be recognized by ’The Circulars’, the circular economy award program, at the World Economic Forum in Davos for its pioneering work in developing closed-loop models in plastics recycling in emerging markets.

Related SDG practices


Photo: © Simson Petrol/Unsplash

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Project: Circular Baltic 2030