A first of its kind fair trade plastics recycling initiative by Hasiru Dala Innovations
Hasiru Dala Innovations, a Bangalore based waste management startup that works on creating better livelihoods for wastepickers, has launched a unique fair trade plastics recycling initiative in association with The Body Shop, the global personal care brand, and Plastics For Change, India. On May 9th, The Body Shop launches one of its highest selling hair care products with 100% recycled PET plastic packaging, out of which 15% will be from PET plastic bottle waste sourced under its Community Trade programme from Hasiru Dala Innovations and Plastics For Change. Hasiru Dala Innovations is aggregating PET plastic at its centre, sourcing it from its network of wastepicker entrepreneurs, Dry Waste Collection Centres, and scrap dealers at a fair price. Its Aggregation Centre, which further sorts and bales the PET plastic to The Body Shop’s stringent standards, has been audited by the World Fair Trade Organization for compliance with its standards on fair trade. The Plastics For Change mobile app ensures traceability and transparency in the supply chain. Plastics For Change is working with franchise partners to replicate this fair trade recycling model in communities across India.
The Body Shop, Plastics For Change and Hasiru Dala Innovations started working on this initiative over 2 years ago going through the process of testing quality of waste, logistics and capacity as well as onboarding the supply chain to meet expectations before going ahead with this international launch. The Body Shop has brought in their deep expertise and experience in putting in place the processes and standards required for their Community Trade programme, their independently verified fair trade programme which was first established in 1987. Apart from a global brand importing waste to be recycled for their packaging from India, the initiative is unique in its attempt to restructure the market dynamics of plastic waste. The Body Shop has approached it from a perspective of how to reduce the cost of consumption of its products from a sustainability perspective by using 100% recycled packaging but also support the improvement of lives of wastepickers in India. In addition, with its long term contract at a fixed price, the three partners are experimenting with restructuring the supply chain and buffering it from the vicissitudes of volatile oil prices.
As part of this launch, a 4 meter high 3D installation of one of the wastepickers from Bangalore is being set up in London’s busy Borough food market, created with the plastic collected and exported by Hasiru Dala Innovations. The installation puts the human face to the plastic solution and reminds us of the role of informal waste sector in being the first line of defence on the burgeoning plastic pollution crisis.
Hasiru Dala Innovations has so far exported 64 metric tons of PET plastic waste to The Body Shop’s recycler in Netherlands for same cycling it to food grade PET, which in India would have been down-cycled to polyester yarn.
“We are constantly innovating on business models through partnerships with different stakeholders to bring responsible waste management to bear on creating a truly circular economy. We hope that more global brands will follow the lead taken by The Body Shop in making their products more sustainable through plastic recycling with ethically sourced plastic waste. Unlike other business models, Hasiru Dala Innovations aims to integrate rather than disintermediate the first mile of waste recovery, namely the wastepickers and scrap dealers into the circular economy’s international supply chain.” says Shekar Prabhakar, co-founder and Director of Hasiru Dala Innovations.