Melitta establishes recycling company in India

Image of women in a recycling company
(Image: Melitta Group)

The Melitta Group has founded a recycling company in Bangalore/India to process and recycle plastic waste. The profits are to benefit non-profit organisations and improve the working conditions of waste pickers.

Plastics pollution is a worldwide threat to the environment. With the Fair Recycled Plastic initiative, the Melitta Group wants to make a contribution to solving this problem. The Yunus Social Business Fund gGmbH and the Melitta Group subsidiary Cofresco, have set up the recycling company ‘Vishuddh Recycle Pvt. Ltd.’ in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. Employees at the plant produce around 2,000 tonnes of plastic granulate from LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) plastic waste every year, which is then used in the production of Swirl and handy bag brand bin liners. 

The company sources plastic waste from selected social enterprises whose aim is to establish a better waste management infrastructure in Bangalore, integrating waste pickers with better working conditions into the value chain. Fair Recycled Plastic is financially supported by DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH as part of the develoPPP programme of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

“It is part of the Melitta Group’s ethos to make positive contributions to sustainable development. A significant segment of our product portfolio at the Melitta Group is made from plastic. That’s why we see it as our duty to do something to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans and on the land.”

Katharina Roehrig, Managing Director at the Melitta Group and Head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability

Fair Recycled Plastic not only contributes to solving specific ecological and social problems locally in Bangalore, it also aims to be an innovative example of sustainable plastic production and recycling, and to inspire other companies and stakeholders to explore new approaches. It is essential that plastic as a valuable raw material remains in the life cycle as long as possible through recycling and does not harm the environment as waste. “Fair Recycled Plastic is an important milestone on our way to achieving this goal,” added Katharina Roehrig.

The initiative is based on the principle of the circular economy, in which plastics that would otherwise end up in nature, landfills or fires are collected, processed and recycled. This will reduce the amount of waste on the streets of Bangalore and will also create new jobs in the local production facilities.  Initially, 20 employees will work in the plant. The aim is to involve as many people as possible through the partner companies that take the collected LDPE (low-density polyethylene) from the waste pickers for pre-sorting and cleaning, and who have to meet the Melitta Group’s high social and quality standards.

Profits benefit charitable organisations

Cofresco has founded the company ‘Vishuddh Recycle’ for the new production facility in Bangalore. The company has been started as a social business. This means that all profits generated are ploughed back into the business or are invested in benefiting the local community.

“We want to support the poorest section of the population in Bangalore in a holistic way and to achieve this we will be working with two organisations to provide better health care and additional educational opportunities for the waste pickers and their children.”

Oliver Strelecki, Managing Director of Cofresco

One organisation is the ‘Smile Foundation’, which travels through the slums of Bangalore with mobile clinics to offer people free primary health care. The other is the ‘Hasiru Dala Trust’ which runs educational activities such as community libraries and workshops to promote the social, emotional and cognitive growth of children and works to help them achieve better educational qualifications.

“Fair Recycled Plastic alone will not solve the social ills and environmental problems in Bangalore. However, the Melitta Group is committed to taking this important step in the right direction.”  

Katharina Roehrig

Source: Melitta Group

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