City of Hyderabad, India
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
- 8.4 Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10‑Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, with developed countries taking the lead.
- 9.4 By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
- 12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.
Photo: © Simson Petrol/Unsplash
Project: Circular Baltic 2030