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Three companies responsible for two-thirds of single-use plastics

  • Published at 09:55 am October 7th, 2018
Labels from single-use plastic waste collected from Dhanmondi Lake Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The 97.5kg non-recyclable plastic waste sample was collected from a one-kilometer area of Dhanmondi Lake, in two hours

Three leading companies produce two–thirds of Bangladesh’s total single-use non-recyclable plastics, leading pollution and posing serious consequences to the environment.

Among the national and multinational companies, PRAN Food Limited, Abdul Monem Limited, and Bombay Sweets Company Limited produce 67% of the total plastics, according to the latest report by the Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO).

An ESDO report published on October 2 found that PRAN Food produces 27% of total single-use plastic waste while Abdul Monem, with its Igloo brand ice cream 20%; Bombay Sweets with its Potato Crackers 10%; while multinational company Nomad Foods Limited, with its brand iglo, produces 9% of the total waste.

The other leading brands and companies contributing to plastic pollution are: Polar Ice Cream of Dhaka Ice Cream Industries Limited, Energy Plus of Olympic Industries Ltd, Acme Tea of Acme, Benson & Hedges of British American Tobacco, Center Fruit of Perfetti Van Melle Bangladesh, Bashundhara Paper Mills Ltd, Kinley of Coca-Cola Company, Sunsilk of Unilever, Sun Chips of Quasem Food Products Limited, and Ifad of Ifad Multi Products etc.

PRAN-RFL Group Director (Marketing) Kamruzzaman Kamal told the Dhaka Tribune that they were “unaware of any such study.”

Packaging that contributes to the plastic waste problem is in widespread Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

“There should be specific guidelines on managing single-use plastic waste. The manufacturers, government, and environmental campaigners should work together to formulate a policy that can help reduce the volume of single-use plastic waste and pollution," he said.

Urging city corporations and municipality authorities to play a more effective role, he said his company will also try find out a way to reduce its amount of single-use plastics.

The Dhaka Tribune reached out to representatives of Abdul Monem Ltd and British American Tobacco Bangladesh Ltd via mobile phone for comments on the report yesterday, but no one responded. Nomad Foods Ltd did not respond to our request for comment via email. 

What did the study discover?

Sachets or small plastic bags found during the study use single layer, multi layer, and polyethylene packaging types. Some hard plastics were also discovered. 

Some sachets contain plastic microbeads, which are non-recyclable. These microbeads can enter water bodies and severely impact the aquatic life and ecosystem. 

ESDO Secretary General Dr Shahriar Hossain said mini-packs do not add any value for consumers, but the companies produce them to boost sales and make higher profits.

A chart listing the companies whose single-use plastic wastes were found in Dhanmondi Lake by ESDO, along with the amounts of each

“This type of plastic cannot be recycled. It goes to canals, rivers, and to the sea….It will also create damage in landfills. Since this specific type of waste is non-recyclable, neither the city corporations nor private organizations collect the waste,” he added.

Hossain suggested banning the use of mini-packs to reduce its waste.

According to the survey, a total of 97.5kg of non-recyclable plastic waste was collected as sample, from a one-kilometer area of the Dhanmondi Lake, in two hours. The waste included: 40.31kg of household products, 32.8kg of food products, 32.8kg of personal care products, and 23.83 kg of other mixed products. 

The report says approximately 200 tons of plastic waste are collected each day in Dhaka city. 

Sachets are mainly used to package small amounts of liquid, jelly, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food, household chemicals, salt, sugar, grain, seeds, spices, gels, lotions, creams, shampoos, toothpastes, conditioners, among other items. 

Plastic packaging contains many different chemicals with endocrine-disrupting properties, including solvents, UV stabilizers, phthalates, antimicrobials, and industrial additives—which harm human health and the environment.  

Department of Environment Director (Natural Resource Management & Research) Dr Fahmida Khanom said they do have their own programs to deal with single-use plastic waste.

“We have promised to minimize the amount of single-use plastic waste on international platforms. To reduce the volume, we have plans to bring the waste generation mechanism under a legal framework,” she said.

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