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How Sustainability Made This Business a Game Changer Today, the home-grown conglomerate operates businesses across seven verticals of the packaging value chain – flexible packaging, packaging films, aseptic liquid packaging, holography, printing cylinders, engineering and chemicals

By Shrabona Ghosh

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From getting into your kitchen to flying into Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), UFlex serves as a multitude of flexible packaging solutions required by brands across various platforms such as FMCG, consumer product goods, pharmaceuticals, building materials, the automobile industry, among others.

Today, the term sustainability has gained momentum but UFlex was way ahead of its time when it earned recognition at the prestigious 'Davos Recycle Forum' in 1995. Through its global sustainability initiative 'Project Plastic Fix' it aims to make plastic in packaging more readily reused, recycled and circulated.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the flexible packaging sector has grown substantially. The increased attention on plastic pollution moved the focus to create packaging formats for brands and consumers while keeping sustainability at center-stage. The company recycles/ upcycled plastic waste to turn it into a product that has an economic value and a life beyond original use. "Whether it is collecting post-consumer plastic or developing packaging formats that can be reused, recycled or converted into biomass, we are at the forefront leading this initiative. We were the first and only company in the world to recycle mixed plastic waste," said Anantshree Chaturvedi, vice chairman and CEO, Flex Films International.

The company is driven by innovation and offers solutions which are facilitated by technologies developed through in-depth R&D by scientists and engineers. "Be it our re-closable 4D pouches that stand on the shelf and allow its multiple use to our active modified atmospheric technology based liner bags or the profile shaped ketchup pouch that acts like a flexible bottle; we have been segment leaders in creating solutions that have not only gone on to add convenience to consumers lives and drive sales of our customers but also support India's space mission by providing ISRO with a specialized film for spacecraft components."

UFlex aims to build a circular economy not just within its system, but also at a global scale. It recycles industrial and post-consumer multi-layer mixed plastic waste into granules that are further used to make a multitude of new household and industrial plastic products. With one its technology, the firm upcycled PET bottles into high PCR content packaging films. "In this, we convert PET plastic bottle waste into green plastic packaging film range Ascelpius having as much as 100 per cent PCR content displaying the same attributes and application as any standard fossil-fuel based twin substrate. This method creates an endless loop of polymer that is reused to make a new product like a pouch or label each time."

UFlex has recently announced one of its most important initiatives to bring a sustainable change by setting up an U-shaped paper straw manufacturing line in Gujarat for aseptic liquid cartons that are produced in Sanand.

Talking about the company's expansion plan, he said, "We innovate our way out of the problem by using a virtual engineering assembly system, body cameras and local training to get the new plants up and running. The capex includes three new global locations of Russia, Nigeria and Hungary as Greenfield expansion and two brownfield projects in Poland and Egypt. We are also expanding our packaging films capacity in India by putting up a plant in Dharwad in Karnataka with an investment of 850 crore and another line at our existing Dubai plant. These should start getting commissioned in phases in FY2023."

Shrabona Ghosh

Correspondent

A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 
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