Yash Pakka Ltd., an Ayodhya based compostable packaging solutions provider that started off its operations as a paper mill in the early 80s has undergone a major transition over the last decade to become one of the leading sustainable packaging solutions providers in the country. The sustained efforts of the company in contributing towards a cleaner planet over the past decade has ultimately been paying rich dividends. The company has been engaged in the manufacture of packaging paper, moulded food service products, including several other value-added products derived from sugarcane waste. Holding an active presence in the markets of over 30 countries, the company is confident of capturing a significant market share in the coming years, particularly owing to the huge demand for sustainable solutions across the globe in recent years.

Jagdeep Hira, India Business Head, Yash Pakka Limited spoke to Claus from Food Infotech. Jagdeep shared more details about the company’s manufacturing practices that are not just limited to being sustainable but also regenerative. He also mentioned the steps initiated by the company as part of its CSR activity in helping minimize waste and preserve the environment as well as their plans for expansion in the coming years.

Excerpts Below:

Can you start by giving us an overview of Pakka’s sustainable manufacturing practices and the eco-friendly food packaging solutions offered by your company?

Pakka (officially Yash Pakka Limited) that was founded in 1981 by K.K. Jhunjhunwala as Yash Papers Limited, is one of the pioneers in the Indian sustainable packaging industry. Over the past 40 years, the company has transformed from being a paper manufacturer to becoming a sustainable and regenerative packaging solutions provider. The over 450-member company works towards making the planet cleaner through its holistic approach.

The primary raw material that we use for production is bagasse, which is the residue of sugarcane. We obtain the raw material from sugar companies within 200 km radius from our factory. The very basis of the work that we do here at Pakka is not just sustainable but regenerative. This is because we make products from agricultural waste, which eventually compost after disposal.

In each and every step that we take, we have strived to adopt eco-friendly practices in our process. Some of the steps that are part of our process include:

• 100% self-generated biomass energy: For all our operations, we use self-generated energy that is created using coir pith, which is again agricultural residue;
• Overall in our process, 95% cooking chemicals are recovered;
• We are completely off grid and utilize our two power plants of 6 MW and 2.5 MW to generate electricity.

Apart from the production process, I would also like to mention several initiatives undertaken by Pakka Foundation, which is the CSR wing of Pakka:

– Pakka Foundation is currently involved in the rejuvenation of 6 ponds that comprise of a total area of 15000 sq. m. in and around Ayodhya;
– More than 65,000 trees have been planted by Pakka as part of its afforestation drive;
– As many as 5000 saplings have been planted within an area of 2600 sq. m. in the factory premises in Darshan Nagar.

From where does Yash Pakka source its raw materials, when it comes to the range of innovative compostable packaging solutions offered by the company to the Food service Industry?
We source all our raw materials from sugar factories that are located within a radius of 200 km from our factory. The Awadh belt of UP is rich in sugarcane plantations, which is the reason for several sugar factories to be concentrated in the area.
On an average, we source more than 2.5 lakh MT sugarcane residue from various companies between the months of November and April.
This is used to produce compostable paper packaging products as well as compostable tableware products for both dine-in and delivery purposes.
Please explain to us in detail about whether your products provide an end-of-life solution.
All the products produced by Pakka are compostable, which means that they provide an end-of-life solution. The products are compostable and they biodegrade in less than 6 months. Another important factor to note is that the products are backyard compostable and not industrial compostable. This means that a mechanical process is not required for the waste to turn to compost, rather one is only required to dispose after use in favourable conditions and composting will be done on its own.
Could you share any notable achievements or recognitions that Yash Pakka has received for its commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices?

Yash Pakka has received many awards and accolades over the last few decades. Most recently, we were recognized as ‘Noteworthy Water Efficient Unit’ by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry). In addition, we also continue to be one of the top 50 Best Places to Work in Manufacturing, which is because of our practices with relation to people and planet.

Please tell us what’s next that we can expect to hear from Yash Pakka in the near future. 
There are many exciting developments in the pipeline. We’re expanding our plant in Ayodhya, which will help us create a bigger impact. We’re adding a new paper machine and also enhancing the capacity of the existing ones. Furthermore, to meet the increased power demands, we are also adding a new power plant, which will work on the same principles as the existing ones.
Apart from this, we have started working on the development of a new plant in Guatemala. We have already signed MoU with several big sugar companies in the country for raw material and we’re looking to make swift progress in that direction too.
In terms of materials, our key focus in the times to come would be compostable flexible packaging. Understandably, this is the need of the hour, due to the amount of waste being produced by single-use plastic in flexible packaging. We are working towards creating alternatives to single-use plastic for all aspects of the food industry.
Finally, your thoughts on World Environment Day and how we must celebrate it and work towards a cleaner planet.
It is of supreme importance to us that the environment is taken care of, because the singular objective of the existence of Pakka is a cleaner planet. In our product development process, we ensure that we minimize waste generation. We’re steadily moving towards the goal of net zero carbon emission, aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, we have also undertaken several steps through our CSR initiative Pakka Foundation as stated earlier, enabling us to work towards environmental upkeep in towns and villages around our factory premises. It is encouraging to see that days such as World Environment Day are gaining popularity and are being celebrated, since they help in increasing the awareness about our environment.
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An editor by day & dreamer at night; passionately involved with both print and digital media; Pet lover; Solo traveller.

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