Ten leading corporations in the field of juices, dairy, pharmaceuticals, liquor and packaging, including Tetra Pak, CavinKare, Dabur India, Diageo India, Halewood Laboratories, John Distilleries, Karnataka Milk Federation, Parag Milk, Radico Khaitan and Schreiber Dynamix Dairies, have co-founded the Action Alliance for Recycling Beverage Cartons (AARC). It is a first-of-its-kind initiative to further strengthen the end-to-end waste management ecosystem by engaging with all stakeholders (including waste pickers, scrap dealers, waste management companies, recyclers and non-governmental organisations) across the value chain. Along the way, more companies are expected to join the alliance aims to double the recycling of used cartons from approximately 30 per cent today to 60 per cent by 2025.

Commenting on the genesis of AARC, Kandarp Singh, managing director, Tetra Pak, and chairman, AARC, said, “This is the first time ever that an initiative of this nature and scale has been launched. It is a strong platform that brings the industry together with a common mission – to radically transform the recycling landscape and positively impacting millions engaged in the waste trade. We are very grateful for the support that we have received from the industry.”

Applauding the launch of AARC, C K Mishra, secretary, ministry of environment, forests and climate change, Government of India, said, “Waste management is a burning issue that is best addressed through effective policy, strong implementation and a partnership approach for the long-term good of all. The government recently revamped the Waste Management Rules and introduced the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR). We are extremely happy to see the formation of AARC – a collaboration between industry, the waste trade, NGOs and civic society and their commitment to fulfil their mandate as responsible producers.”

Talking about the role of Tetra Pak, Singh said, “For us, sustainability is an integral part of our brand promise – Protects What’s Good. Our cartons are fully recyclable and primarily made of paper, with 100 per cent of the paperboard sourced from FSC-certified and other controlled sources.”

“Over the last 15 years, Tetra Pak has successfully built up the used cartons recycling ecosystem from scratch. Our commitment to the cause has been unwavering, and despite many challenges, one out of three used cartons are recycled today. AARC welcomes the government’s recent waste management reforms and now with the beverage carton industry pooling its resources together, we will work actively to step up recycling in the years to come,” he added.

Commander Amitabha Ray, chairman, Schreiber Dynamix Dairies, and vice-chairman, AARC, said, “Industry leaders have recognised the need for an organisation like AARC, as a collaborative effort to make a big impact. AARC will provide its member organisations the right platform to share responsibilities and bring maximum efficiencies to create a win-win for all: collection partners will collect more used cartons which will provide enhanced livelihoods for waste pickers; recyclers will get greater access to a valuable resource, and society will benefit by having a cleaner environment. Over the next few months, we will work together to design and implement a roadmap including projects, resources, partners and other finer details.”