Düsseldorf, Germany — Reliance Industries Ltd. is working with the Indian Center for Plastics in the Environment (ICPE) to advance sustainability in India.
"We need to reach out to 1.3 billion consumers who each generate some amount of waste," Reliance Senior Vice President S.K. Ray said in an interview at K 2019 in Düsseldorf. "The question is how to responsibly manage that waste."
"There are a lot of disposable markets, and we need to reduce that material impact as much as possible," he added. "Less material means less energy used."
Mumbai-based Reliance — a conglomerate with businesses ranging from oil refining to polypropylene to retail stores — already recycles 2 billion PET bottles per year in India and uses the material to make other products. But Ray said there's more work to be done.
"The problem is visible pollution, and we have volunteers working on beaches to address that," he said. "We want to get as close to the consumer as possible."
Ray also said that it's important to make younger consumers aware of sustainability. Reliance recently sponsored a sustainability contest along with ICPE for students. The contest drew 3,000 entries. The winning entry was a video made by a 16-year-old student.
"If public awareness is greater, we can show that recycled plastic has value," Ray said.
ICPE was founded in 1999 and has 24 member companies, including Reliance, BASF, Haldia Petrochemical, Indian Oil and LG. Its goal is to promote and support plastics waste management in India.
Reliance also is a member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, an industry group formed earlier this year with the goal of investing $1.5 billion to help end plastic waste in the environment.
Reliance ranks as India's largest private sector company, with annual sales of just over $90 billion. The firm employs almost 200,000.