The latest machine was delivered to the 517 ASC Battalion in Gangtok in the North-Eastern state of Sikkim this month. The machine was built and installed by Amritsar Hydraulics Engineering Works in Punjab.
Jaideep Gokhale, communications director, Tetra Pak South Asia, told FoodProductionDaily the biggest challenge in this region is the lack of enforcement of legislation related to waste segregation as well as consumer apathy.
“These create challenges in retrieving used Tetra Pak cartons. India has a large informal sector for collecting waste through a multitude of rag-pickers, scrap dealers and waste contractors for whom picking and selling waste is a source of income," he said.
“Educating and organising these waste collectors about the value in collecting used carton is a huge challenge. But we are working with NGOs, waste collectors as well as private waste management companies to teach people that cartons are 100% recyclable and should be recycled.”
The Battalion has already begun collecting used Tetra Pak cartons that get accumulated after consumption of milk by the Army troops in Gangtok. The baling machine will allow the Army to compress the collected cartons and transport them to Khatema Fibres, a recycling plant in Uttarakhand.
The initiative by the 517 ASC Battalion follows similar initiatives taken by the Indian Army contingents of the Ace of Spades in Rajori and in Kargil – both in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Other initiatives include Project SEARCH (Sensitisation, Education and Awareness on Recycling for a Cleaner Habitat), to educate school children on proper waste management and carton recyclability.
The project is in its sixth year and run in partnership with The Energy and Research Institute (TERI). It reaches out to over 200,000 students in six cities.
Tetra Pak also partners with TERI, which is led by Nobel-laureate Dr Rajendra Pachauri, on a youth leadership initiative called LEADearthSHIP to promote sustainability and it works with retail chains and NGOs to increase consumer awareness about carton recyclability.
Retail chains including Reliance Retail and Sahakari Bhandar, also act as collection centres where consumers can deposit used cartons.