Monday, May 27, 2024

Packem Umasree’s Ahmedabad plant to revolutionize FIBC production with sustainability focus

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Packem Umasree
Punit Gopalka, managing director, Packem Umasree at Interpack 2023. Photo: Packem Umasree

Currently, Packem Umasree operates a manufacturing facility in Brazil and is actively constructing a second plant in Ahmedabad, India. The new plant is expected to commence operations in the first quarter of 2024, further bolstering its sustainable production capabilities. The expansion reflects the company’s commitment to sustainable practices and meeting the growing demand for eco-friendly packaging solutions.

Packem Umasree, a joint venture between Packem from Brazil and Umasree Texplast based in Gujarat, has accomplished a remarkable feat by becoming the first company worldwide to produce fully sustainable flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC), commonly known as jumbo bags, utilizing 100% recycled PET material derived from used PET bottles.

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FIBCs, also known as Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers, are utilized for the purpose of transporting and storing a wide range of bulk items. These include food products, such as milk powder and chocolate powder, as well as agricultural products, chemicals, PVC, polymers, and construction materials, among various others.

Last year, Packem and Umasree unveiled their joint venture, with Umasree owning a 49% equity stake and Packem holding 51%. The upcoming plant in India will serve as the country’s inaugural production facility for manufacturing FIBC or jumbo bags using 100% recycled PET (rPET) sourced from used PET bottles. This pioneering concept of bottle-to-bag recycling underscores the companies’ commitment to sustainable practices and signifies a significant breakthrough in the industry. The establishment of the new plant underscores the commitment of both companies to contribute to a circular economy by transforming waste materials into valuable packaging solutions.

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Team Packem Umasree during WPO awards ceremony. Photo: Packem Umasree

Punit Gopalka, managing director of Packem Umasree, expressed his profound satisfaction with the company’s pioneering achievement. He said, “Being the first company globally to produce FIBC utilizing rPET derived from used PET bottles is a remarkable achievement. Our existing plant in Brazil caters to the local market, while our upcoming facility in Ahmedabad, India, will cater to markets beyond Brazil. We have high expectations for exporting a significant portion of the output from the Ahmedabad plant to regions such as North America and Europe. Upon the completion of the new plant in Ahmedabad, Packem Umasree is strategically positioning itself to strengthen its role as a prominent global supplier of sustainably manufactured FIBCs.”

The forthcoming Ahmedabad plant is projected to create employment opportunities for approximately 700 individuals, thereby generating a significant number of direct local jobs. In preparation for the plant’s operations, Packem Umasree made strategic investments in Starlinger production equipment during K 2022. The investment was aimed at enabling the efficient and streamlined production of FIBCs using rPET at the new facility. By incorporating advanced technology and equipment, Packem Umasree is ensuring that the plant is equipped to meet the growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions while maintaining high production standards.

Gopalka emphasized the comprehensive benefits of the new plant, emphasizing not only the job creation aspect but also the positive environmental and social impacts. He highlighted that the strategic location of the plant in India positions Packem Umasree favorably to efficiently cater to the global market. By leveraging the new plant’s strategic location, the company can effectively meet the needs and demands of customers worldwide.

While expressing his enthusiasm, Gopalka highlighted the extensive environmental and social benefits that the new plant would bring to India. He said, “Alongside the creation of numerous direct local jobs, the facility will contribute positively to the environment and society.” Gopalka emphasized that the strategic location of the new plant will serve as an advantage, enabling Packem Umasree to effectively meet the demands of the global market. “The new plant represents an exciting opportunity to make a significant impact at both local and global levels.”

Successful interpack 2023

Packem Umasree showcased sustainable FIBCs made from rPET (recycled PET bottles) at iInterpack 2023. Gopalka emphasized the numerous benefits of producing FIBCs from rPET, such as recyclability and suitability for food items. The company received positive feedback for its rPET-based FIBCs at interpack, further affirming their quality and market appeal.

“The greatest advantage of PET is its ability to be recycled multiple times. Recycled PET can be made completely free of contaminants, making it suitable for packaging food products. Therefore, manufacturing FIBCs from rPET is highly environmentally friendly and contributes to sustainability efforts,” said Gopalka. He further mentioned that their rPET FIBCs received an excellent response at interpack, with corporates showing interest in using them to achieve their sustainability goals and earn carbon credits. Gopalka expressed optimism about the potential of FIBCs made from rPET, recognizing the growing market demand and environmental benefits they offer.

WPO award for Packem at interpack 2023

Packem received a significant accolade at interpack 2023, further enhancing its reputation in the industry. The company was honored with the prestigious WPO international award for its groundbreaking achievement in developing the ‘First fertilizer Bag-to-Bag made from 100% rPET.’ The WPO award holds great significance as the largest and most prestigious international recognition in the packaging industry. Out of 488 projects from 41 countries in the competition, Packem was honored during a special ceremony, further elevating its reputation and highlighting its innovative contributions to sustainable packaging.

Gopalka said, “This recognition holds great honor as the WPO awards are highly esteemed in the packaging industry. Such accolades serve as inspiration for us to keep pushing the boundaries and strive for even greater milestones.”

Manash Das
Manash Das
Manash Das is associate editor at The Packman. He has been contributing editorially to The Packman since 2016.

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