The creation of a programme that would provide funds and mentorship to Indian tech companies working in the area of plastic waste management and circularity was announced by packaged consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL).
Unilever, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK, EY, and Social Alpha are all partners in the "Transform Plastics Challenge."
Five Indian start-ups will participate in the initiative, receiving up to 1.6 crore each in grant cash, equity investments, mentorship, and help for growing their businesses.
The Transform Plastics Challenge will highlight start-ups working on creating technological solutions for processing plastic waste, commercially viable reuse or refill models, as well as advances at the material or substrate level that enable recyclable or compostable packaging.
Start-ups that are already developing cutting-edge, scalable solutions to handle plastic waste management are encouraged to apply to the programme.
In keeping with the Transform philosophy, we want to speed up the development and scaling of solutions by Indian start-ups that have the potential to be adopted on a global scale. Deepak Subramanian, Executive Director, Home Care, HUL and General Manager, Home Care South Asia, said, "We are pleased to engage with Social Alpha to assist empower the next generation of start-ups that will pave the route to a waste-free world.
By 2025, HUL plans to use only reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging. It has also committed to collecting and processing more plastic than it sells. According to HUL, the company behind Dove soaps and Knorr soups, its collect and process objective was met in 2021, four years earlier than expected.
Smita Rakesh, Vice President and Partner, Social Alpha, said, "Entrepreneurship powered by innovation has a huge potential to address the problem of plastic waste and create impact through new material innovations, material recycling, comprehensive packaging redesigns, and possibly a more fundamental rethinking of delivery to the end customer."