Transforming India's plastic waste

By Laura Kenworthy 2min read
Pratik Dalmia

Creating new uses for plastic waste is a central aspect of an increasing focus on sustainability. For Pratik Dalmia (BA Land Economy, 2005-8), it is the purpose of a family business which has expanded over the past 15 years.

Founded by Pratik’s father Aditya Dalmia in 2006, Dalmia Polypro produces high quality recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), as well as flakes and granules of Polypropylene and Polyethylene, serving clients in sectors ranging from fashion to industrial packaging.

“We focus on catering to quality conscious applications,” says Pratik, Executive Director of the company. “We make the raw materials and then sell them on, for example as yarn for companies that make active wear, or to renowned consumer brands, who use our materials in their packaging.”

The company uses waste materials such as drinks bottles which, in India, are often reused multiple times before they are disposed of.

“The nature of plastic waste is very different in India,” Pratik explains. “Bottles are lighter and are used much more frequently than they are in the west.”

Once thrown away, the bottles are collected by informal workers, who gather waste materials of value and sell them on.

“The informal workers then sell the waste products to a neighbourhood trader, who will sort the materials and sell them on to material specific aggregators, who work with recyclers like us.”

In the decade and a half of the company’s existence, its scale and ambition have grown beyond recognition. It now repurposes over 1 billion plastic bottles each year.

Pratik’s own career saw him spend a few years working in investment banking in London, as well as in luxury retail in India, before joining the family firm. As he sees it, the company is meeting a need which is growing ever more urgent.

“Dalmia Polypro is fortunate to have the opportunity to tackle the challenge of plastic pollution. Over the next decade we hope to recover and recycle over 50 billion plastic bottles."