Dow India launches Rethink+ plastics recycling initiative

Dow India launches Rethink+ plastics recycling initiative

Rethink+ will help connect people with waste aggregators, processors and recyclers in India to recycle plastic scrap.

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Dow Chemical International Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, has announced that it is launching Rethink+, a digital waste management platform. The platform is a plastics takeback program that aims to prevent postconsumer plastic scrap from going to landfills. According to a news release from Dow, the platform connects users with waste generators, waste aggregators, waste processors and recyclers.

Dow reports that it collaborated with India's Recykal, a technology company providing cloud-based solutions for the waste management and recycling industry, as well as Keshav Sita Memorial Foundation Trust, a nongovernmental organization in the waste management industry.

Through a mobile app, participants in Rethink+ will list their recyclables and either schedule a collection or drop off items at designated collection centers, earning reward points for online vouchers and each completed transaction. The plastic scrap collected through Rethink+ is streamlined to different recycling processes such as upcycling and pyrolysis. Dow reports that this new initiative is in line with its sustainability targets to “Stop the Waste” by enabling 1 million metric tons of plastic to be collected, reused or recycled through its actions and partnerships.

Dow reports that Rethink+ was piloted in Pune, Maharashtra, earlier this year. According to Dow, the pilot program proved to be successful, with 810 metric tons of plastic scrap collected in five months. Rethink+ will continue to facilitate the collection of plastic scrap in Pune, while expanding the program to multiple cities across India.

“The results of the pilot program have been outstanding, but we are just getting started. We are thrilled to be able to extend Rethink+ to more cities in India and encourage the public to recycle more through increased awareness, education and dedicated infrastructure,” says Bambang Candra, Asia Pacific commercial vice president of Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “With Recykal’s technology and expertise in local waste management, and the support of Keshav Sita Memorial Foundation Trust, we are committed to bringing more consumers and partners onboard to advance a circular economy for plastics in India and Asia Pacific.”

Infrastructure for the collection, separation and recycling of postconsumer scrap received through Rethink+ were built to ensure that the collected materials are channeled to authorized recyclers, road contractors and waste-to-fuel (or pyrolysis) facilities.

“We are excited to be working with Dow India, a leader in plastics technology, to provide a platform for individuals, brand owners, manufacturers, waste collectors and recyclers to collectively manage plastic waste by utilizing their strengths in the recycling journey,” says Abhay Deshpande, founder of Recykal. “We all have the same goal, which is to save the environment. With Rethink+, we hope to connect the waste value chain through innovative technology and data solutions and change the way India recycles its plastic waste.”

Additionally, Keshav Sita Memorial Foundation Trust has been creating awareness about the harmful effects of plastic when it ends up in the waste stream. The organization is educating individuals by setting up collection points at residences, schools and retailers as part of Rethink+. Dow reports that this collection has continued even during COVID-19 with some extra hygiene practices and precautions put into place.

Through UZED, a consumer app created by Recykal, consumers can dispose of recyclable plastic scrap responsibly. Dow says app users should register under “Rethink+ Plastic Takeback Program.” The recyclables included are listed on the app and it allows users to schedule for doorstep pickup of materials as well as scheduling drop off of materials at collection centers.